by Andrew Powell
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law three anticrime bills on Monday that the Republican says will strengthen pre-trial detention and push back against “soft on crime” policies that have made other states less safe.
“One of the main things people say when they come, is that they just want to be in a place that takes public safety seriously.” DeSantis said, noting that Florida’s 50-year-low crime rate is a main driver for people who relocate to the Sunshine State.
House Bill 1627 prohibits judges from setting a bond amount lower than what is on the bond schedule, they can, however, set the bond higher. It also prohibits a person from being released prior to his or her first appearance if arrested for a particularly violent or heinous crime.
HB 1359 imposes additional penalties on fentanyl when the drug looks like a piece of candy to target children. Those found guilty of trafficking such substances could face a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years and a $1 million fine.
HB 1297 imposes the death penalty for pedophiles who commit sexual battery against children under the age of 12. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Kennedy v. Louisiana in 2008 banned capital punishment for anything other than murder or crimes against the state such as treason.
DeSantis has stated that he is prepared to take this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if the new law is challenged.
“For three consecutive legislative sessions we have enacted tough-on-crime policies, and this year we are continuing to implement measures to protect our communities and keep Florida safe, with a particular emphasis on keeping criminals in jail and throwing the book at pedophiles,” DeSantis said.
State and local governments have formed a task force to prevent illegal migrants from crossing into Florida from the Panhandle.
“These are people illegally in our country, who should have been stopped at the border, coming here to hurt our communities and our folks are working to get ahead of this and hold them accountable,” DeSantis said.
Since the inception of the task force, there have been over 300 felony charges, 42 human smuggling charges and 128 drug charges. DeSantis added that those responsible for enforcing the law have a duty to do so.
“We’ve made it very clear that people in law enforcement, whether police or prosecutors have a duty to enforce the law. They don’t have the ability to ignore the law and when we’ve seen that happen, we’ve taken action and held those people accountable and we will continue to do that going forward.” DeSantis said.
Out-of-state law enforcement officers are currently being offered $5,000 bonuses to relocate, and DeSantis stated that since the bonuses have been available, over 2,000 have been awarded to new recruits.
DeSantis stated that Florida was able to capitalize on the discontent felt by law enforcement officers in other states who did not feel they were appreciated.
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Andrew Powell is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Governor Ron DeSantis.