Florida state senators are poised to pass landmark legislation aimed at better protecting Floridians from rapists and child molesters today, the first day of the annual Legislative session, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I don’t want to let one more day go by without making Florida scorched earth for sexual predators,” said Senate President Don Gaetz. A package of four bills would toughen sex-crime sentences, increase community monitoring, and keep more of the most dangerous offenders confined after their prison terms end. It would provide the most comprehensive overhaul of sex offender legislation in more than a decade.
Gaetz said he will take the “unusual step” of moving the bills right through from debate and a preliminary vote to what he is certain will be final passage. “We will break precedent, we will break tradition, we will bring the bills to the floor immediately,” Gaetz said. “I don’t want one more child to be a victim of violent sexual predators. I want to move these bills as quickly as we can. We’ve already waited too long.” The action comes in response to the Sun Sentinel’s “Sex Predators Unleashed” investigative series in August that found nearly 600 sex offenders had attacked again after the state had a chance to stop them. House Speaker Will Weatherford said the legislation is a priority in his chamber as well, and he aims to take it up during the second week.