• Legislature poised to fix state sex predator laws


    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Legislature is poised to pass a package of bills that will lock up child rapists longer and close loopholes that allow the most dangerous sexual predators to avoid civil commitment after they're punished for their crimes.

    The Florida House on Tuesday gave tentative approval to four bills and could soon send them to Gov. Rick Scott.

    Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said the bills would make Florida "the safest state in America to raise a family."

    The wide-ranging package would double the mandatory minimum sentence for child rapists and sexually dangerous offenders to 50 years in prison.

    They will also strengthen the Jimmy Ryce Act, which allows for the civil commitment of sexual predators once they finish their prison terms.

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