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Updated: 03/17/2014 10:34:10AM

Keeping sex offenders away from children

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The Florida Senate moved quickly to strengthen state laws dealing with sexual offenders, passing four bills within hours of the start of the 2014 legislative session that will close loopholes allowing dangerous offenders to go free. Two heartrending abductions involving the rape and murder of young girls provider an emotional backdrop to the votes. All four bills were approved unanimously and we applaud the clear message that Florida will not tolerate predators who prey on our most vulnerable residents.

The Senate measures would close loopholes in the 1998 Jimmy Ryce Act that allows the state to confine predators to civil commitment centers after serving sentences and doubles the mandatory minimum sentence for child rapists and sexually dangerous offenders to 50 years. Offenders would also be required to provide a wide array of information upon their release, including vehicle registrations, Internet user names, passport information, immigration status and professional licenses. The Florida House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the bills, which will then go to Gov. Rick Scott.

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