As states across the nation struggle to keep crime at bay, Florida is setting record lows, hitting its lowest crime rate in 50 years at the end of 2022. Although crime in the Sunshine State has continued to decline over the years, Florida leaders know that there is still more work to be done to keep law-abiding Floridians safe and bring justice to those who have violated the laws. To advance and preserve these record lows, at the beginning of the year Gov. DeSantis announced a Law & Order legislative proposal, outlining his tough-on-crime agenda for the upcoming 2023 Legislative Session. In the proposal, the governor described the specifics of his plan which included legislation that would strengthen the punishment for child rapists and make it more feasible to administer ultimate justice to those facing the death penalty.
In efforts to carry out this important legislative agenda, legislators are standing firmly behind Gov. DeSantis and his tough-on-crime agenda. They know that Florida needs to take additional action if they want to keep their communities safe, so they have been working hard prior to the launch of the 2023 Legislative Session to draft and file bills that will carry out the governor’s important proposal in the upcoming weeks.
Two bills making the biggest waves are SB 450/ HB 555, which would end the unanimous jury requirement for execution, and HB 1297/ SB 1342, which would provide the death penalty for child rapists.
Starting with SB 450, this legislation originally filed by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia will revise the current law stating that jury members must come to a unanimous judgment before a criminal is sentenced to face capital punishment. This legislation evolved after standing laws protected Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz from the electric chair with a 9-3 verdict by the jury. This legislation will make it easier to execute certain criminals who have committed heinous crimes but are spared from death row by a jury’s decision.
In efforts to further administer adequate punishments for monstrous criminals, Rep. Jessica Baker and Sen. Jonathan Martin filed HB 1297/SB 1342, making child rapists eligible for capital punishment. The bill also requires that only eight of 12 jurors must decide on death row in these certain cases. Gov. Ron DeSantis and many Florida legislators believe that these types of criminals who prey on the young and innocent should pay the ultimate price.
With this strong legislative agenda going into the 2023 Legislative Session, Florida is bound to make impressive progress over the next few weeks. Floridians can trust that Gov. DeSantis and those in the Florida Legislature are working for them and protecting them at all costs. At this rate, Florida will continue to break records and continue to set an example for many states across the country that refuse to be tough on crime and are now suffering the dangerous consequences.