Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced legislation this week that will dramatically increase the punishments faced by child rapists and drug criminals.
The governor’s new legislative proposal is aimed at improving Florida’s “50-year record low crime rate” through a variety of measures that take on woke initiatives like abolishing cash bail and increasing the penalties for serious crimes, especially those that target children.
“Other states endanger their citizens by making it easier to put criminals back on the street,” DeSantis said. “Here in Florida, we will to continue to support and enact policies to protect our communities and keep Floridians safe. Florida will remain the law and order state.”
Among the top items included in DeSantis’ agenda are reducing the number of jurors required to sentence a person to death, punishing fentanyl traffickers with mandatory life sentences for targeting children, strengthening Florida’s bail laws, making child rapists face either life in prison or the death penalty, and increasing penalties against those who attempt sex crimes.
The state released the following information highlighting what is in the agenda:
- Reforming Florida’s death penalty statute to ensure that those convicted of the most heinous crimes are punished accordingly. Current law requires a unanimous jury recommendation to impose a death sentence. This proposal reduces the number of jurors required for a recommendation of death from unanimity to a supermajority jury recommendation.
- Addressing the ongoing fentanyl crisis that is plaguing our country by imposing additional penalties on fentanyl and other drug-related crimes when the drug’s appearance resembles a piece of candy, including making it a first degree felony to possess, sell, or manufacture fentanyl and other controlled substances that resemble candy and adding a mandatory life sentence and $1 million penalty for trafficking such substances that target children. Additionally, Governor DeSantis is allocating $20 million in local support funding for law enforcement agencies to increase efforts to interdict and apprehend the illicit sale and trafficking of fentanyl. This builds upon last year’s increase in fentanyl trafficking mandatory minimums and will protect vulnerable children who might be deceived by what has been dubbed “rainbow fentanyl.”
- Strengthening Florida’s bail laws by limiting who is eligible for release prior to first appearance, making sure that a judge is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to detention, and requiring a detention hearing be held prior to trial for dangerous crimes.
- Petitioning the Florida Supreme Court to establish a uniform bond schedule that all state courts must follow.
- Requiring convicted child rapists to serve at least life in prison and exploring options to make them eligible for the death penalty.
- Toughening penalties for sex criminals by expanding the list of crimes ineligible for gain time by adding all inchoate offenses (attempted crimes) of sexual misconduct, such as attempted sexual battery.
- Requiring law enforcement to report missing persons to the National Missing and Unidentified Person’s System. Currently, they are only required to report it to the Florida Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center.
- Dedicating $5 million in the upcoming budget recommendations to continue the successful interdictions by the strike force announced last year. To date, these interdictions have resulted in more than 200 felony charges, nearly 40 human smuggling charges, 66 drug charges, and more than $625,000 worth of illicit drugs seized.
Attorney General Ashley Moody responded to DeSantis’ agenda by saying that Florida was going in the opposite direction of woke states that are going soft on crime.
“While some states are adopting soft-on-crime policies that increase lawlessness and decrease public safety, in Florida, we strive to strengthen our laws, keep violent criminals behind bars and take proactive steps to keep our communities safe,” Moody said. “I want to thank Governor DeSantis for always standing up for the rule of law and taking action to fortify public safety measures to ensure we continue to be the best state in the nation to pursue the American dream.”