Lunsford Law Regarding Sex Offenders Hits Snag at Florida Capitol

Information learned since the death of 13-year-old Sarah Lunde, also at the hands of a convicted sex offender, is sending the bill back to the state House for changes.

Jessica Lunsford will live on. The legislation bearing her name moved one step closer to passage. The Senate made several changes to a bill that was passed unanimously by the House.

The changes aim at making it harder for probation violators to get out on bail. The change came in response to information learned over the weekend following the death of Sarah Lunde.

Sen. Nancy Argenziano, (R) Crystal River, says, "If he had gone before the judge, and the judge did not have to give him bond, if he wouldn’t, Sarah would be alive today, so we want to give the judge the tool not to have to give them bond."

The bill must now go back to the House, but the goal is still to try and get it on the governor’s desk by the end of the week. Senate co-sponsor Rod Smith is a former prosecutor.

Concerns have been raised that prosecutors will have trouble getting plea agreements if sexual predators face 25 years and a lifetime of electronic monitoring, but Smith says the new law won’t make a weak case any stronger or hurt a strong case.

Sen. Rod Smith, (D) Gainesville, says, "I tell people I don’t have to worry about where they are located as long as I know they are located in a prison cell."

The legislation is supported by the state’s prosecutors, yet they are reluctant to say anything about it until they see a final version. The Senate should vote on the measure Thursday and send it back to the House for a final vote there before the bill heads to the governor's desk.