Legislation Aims to Improve Laws Protecting Children

Police lost track of Jessica’s accused killer, John Couey, months before the nine-year-old was murdered. Now, legislation to provide GPS tracking for sex offenders is moving quickly through the House and Senate.

Mark Lunsford, Jessica’s dad, spent the day roaming the Capitol, looking like a fish out water, but with resolve to make sure his daughter isn’t forgotten.

Mark says, "It’s not something, it’s not anywhere that I thought I would ever be. I’m honored to be here; I’m glad that I can be here."

The money for tracking, estimated to be in the millions, has been the big hang-up, but Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy is surprised how cooperative politicians are being.

Jeff says, "We really need to carve out a niche so that we can really safeguard knowing our children. Some other people have been victims of some very violent sexual offenses against them."

A Senate version is more comprehensive than the House bill, providing GPS tracking, requiring judges to order tracking for sex offenders on probation for other offenses, and stiffening penalties, up to life for the worst offenders.

Sen. Nancy Argenziano, (R) Crystal River, says, "So we are saying in the state of Florida that we are not going to tolerate this. If you have an inclination, not that we want to sick it on some other state, but this is not the state for you to be in."

While Jessica met an untimely death, it appears she will live on in legislation aimed at protecting other children. The biggest concern about the Jessica Lunsford Act is the expense. The GPS tracking system alone would cost the state approximately $60 million.


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