191 So. 188 (Fla. 1939) (homestead tax exemption); Copeland v. State, 435 So. 2d
842 (Fla. 2d DCA 1983) (search and seizure), rev. denied, 443 So. 2d 980 (Fla.
The same analysis that is employed in determining the retroactivity of
statutes is applicable here. In Metropolitan Dade County v. Chase Federal Housing
Corporation, 737 So. 2d 494 (Fla. 1999), the Supreme Court explained:
Two interrelated inquiries arise when determining whether statutes should be retroactively applied. The first inquiry is one of statutory construction: whether there is clear evidence of legislative intent to apply the statute retrospectively. See Landgraf v. USI Film Prods., 511 U.S. 244, 280, 114 S.Ct. 1483, 128 L.Ed.2d 229 (1994); Hassen v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 674 So.2d 106, 108 (Fla.1996). If the legislation clearly expresses an intent that it apply retroactively, then the second inquiry is whether retroactive application is constitutionally permissible. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. v. Laforet, 658 So.2d 55, 61 (Fla.1995); State Dep't of Transp. v. Knowles, 402 So.2d 1155, 1158 (Fla.1981); see also Arrow Air, Inc. v. Walsh, 645 So.2d 422, 425 n. 8 (Fla.1994).
*** The general rule is that in the absence of clear legislative intent to the contrary, a law affecting substantive rights, liabilities and duties is presumed to apply prospectively. See Hassen, 674 So.2d at 108; Arrow Air, 645 So.2d at 425. Thus, if a statute attaches new legal consequences to events completed before its enactment, the courts will not apply the statute to pending cases, absent clear legislative intent favoring retroactive application. See Landgraf, 511 U.S. at 270, 114 S.Ct. 1483; Arrow Air, 645 So.2d at 425.
The policy rationale behind this rule of construction is that the retroactive operation of statutes can be harsh and implicate due process concerns.