News

Actions

Lawmakers look to toughen up sex offender laws next yr.

Posted: 6:12 PM, Aug 26, 2013
Updated: 2013-08-26 15:03:03-04
Sex Offenders

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Lawmakers are already making plans to toughen up those laws for the next legislative session. Some of the lawmakers say repeat offenders are becoming a growing problem once they're released and they want to do something about it.

Florida's legislative session is months away, but lawmakers are already anxious to get back to the Capitol to work to keep dangerous sex offenders and predators off the street.

"You know that when a child dies its always a tragedy, but how that child dies can also be a tragedy that haunts people, and this is something we really need to be focused on as a state," said Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda.(District 9)

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda is one of those lawmakers eager to make change.

She says too many women and children have been killed by offenders and predators after they've been released back into Florida communities.

"Parents are very worried about their children and these things seem like its happening more often, or we're finding out about them more often," said

Like Vasilinda, Representative Alan Williams wants tougher laws on the books as well.

"We have to make sure we do all we can to make sure the laws in the state of Florida are going to be astringent and tough as possible to deter these types of criminal elements," said Alan Williams. (District 8)

Even law enforcement believes more could be done

"I think any sex crime should be the maximum allowed by law, because i deal with these guys everyday," said Steve Norville.

Sgt. Steve Norville showed us offenders like Eligah Paulk who have been to jail, got out, failed to register as an offender and now serving time for the next 6 to 7 years.

"I don't know if enhanced penalties would keep them from doing it but it'll keep them away from the public for a longer time," said Norville.

Vasilinda suggests locking some away for good could be at least one solution .

"You have to look a the immediate prevention of making sure this stuff doesn't happen again," said Rehwinkel-Vasilinda

Lawmakers say this will be one of their first priorities when they return in March for the next legislative session. Lawmakers return to the Capitol for committee weeks in Septembe, but legislation hasn't been filed just yet.