web analytics
Your Independent Alternative!

Crist Signs Sex Offender Bill and Sales Tax Holiday

Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law on Wednesday legislation that included a ban on sexual offenders from areas frequented by children and a back-to-school sales tax holiday.

“Our children are our most precious resource and we must continue to work together and seek ways to continue to ensure their safety,” Crist said before signing the measure (HB 119) that prohibits those classified as sex offenders in most cases from loitering within 300 feet of any of a specified set of places where children congregate, such as a playground or bus stop. “Sexual offenders and predators have no right to prey on our children and this law is another step towards securing safer neighborhoods, schools and communities for them.”

Florida has gotten national media attention over its sex offender laws after residency restrictions in the Miami area became so stringent that a colony of homeless sex offenders arose underneath a bridge connecting Miami to Miami Beach.

Earlier versions of the legislative measure included a 1,000 foot statewide residency requirement, a provision that drew concerns from Miami-Dade officials and threatened to ultimately torpedo the bill. The final measure allows local government to keep stricter residency requirements than the state has for sex offenders, but adds the uniform statewide “buffer zone” around children, limiting where they can go, not just where they can live.

The governor also signed HB 483, which puts in place this year’s sales tax holiday from Aug. 13 through Aug. 15, 2010, on school supplies, books, clothing, and footwear.  During the sales tax holiday, shoppers will not have to pay sales tax on certain clothing items under $50 as well as school supplies that cost $10 or less.

Officials estimate the tax holiday will save families about $26 million.

“This tax break will enable Florida families to buy school supplies and clothing for the school year without the additional cost burden of state and local taxes,” said Florida Retail Federation lobbyist Sally West. “The tax holiday will also provide a much needed boost to Florida's economy.

4 Responses »

  1. 1. There are over 700,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.
    2. The offenses range from urinating in public, possession of child pornography, streaking, consensual sex in a teen dating relationship, confessed rape, allegations of attempted rape, allegations of child molestation by an angry ex-wife, incest, sexting, teens getting drunk at a house party and performing oral sex on someone under 18, endangering the life of a child and the list goes on.
    3. All persons accused of a sex crime are "assumed guilty" until proven not guilty. Many, many people have pleaded guilty to something they ABSOLUTELY DID NOT DO because they have no money to retain an attorney and the public defender is overloaded and the effort is not always there. Imagine hearing "The maximum is 30 years but, with a plea agreement we could work out 36 or 48 months!"
    4. Some people already on the registry have been forced to admit to doing something that they didn't do or their probation would be revoked.
    5. There are documented cases where the person or family who brought the original charges later felt guilty or grossly responsible for ruining someone's life and attempted to correct the "story" with the authorities and it was viewed as inadmissible or a judge felt it should be re-tried and the offender didn’t have the money to pursue with a private attorney.
    6. Anyone convicted of a sex offense has to take and pass polygraph tests at specified intervals and incur the cost of approximately $100. They have to pay for urine tests, counseling and file a safety plan when traveling to another state. The other state has to be notified and many times they don't like to have a registered SO in their area.
    7. The family of a registered sex offender suffers the collateral damage of being forced to move after a neighbor took it upon themselves to put a sign in the front yard, or a note on all the doors around the neighborhood, the children were tormented, the wife lost her job, houses and automobiles have been damaged and the damage continues each time the words REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER is splashed on the television screen or in newsprint. I will state again, there are over 700,000 registered sex offenders and 95% of these folks are "one-time" offenders who have not committed a "hands-on" offense and are NOT VIOLENT. The recidivism rate for these individuals is 5% and that is the lowest of any crime. If they do re-offend it is usually for something other than a sex offense. 95% of the sex crimes are committed by a family member or someone known to the victim. The last two points are very critical to each voter/tax payer in our country.
    8. Unfortunately, when a politician is trying to further his/her career they will pick a topic with a feel-good approach. I’ll promise to do this for the parents to make them think their kids are safe and they will send me to the legislature. We have been told two things that are absolutely alarming; a) legislators have told us they realize the laws have gone too far but, to stand up and say so would be political suicide...and (b) many of the folks who helped originate the Sex Offender Laws and Registry have said both in public and private..the system is broken and is not working as planned!"
    9. Sex offenders have as many rights as the next person but, laws are being passed that are retroactive and therefore unconstitutional. If you use the analogy of someone being convicted of selling drugs and after paying their debt to society they get a letter that they can't go within 1,000 of a drug store or pharmacy warehouse, administer medicine to their children, etc because they were convicted of a drug crime 10 years ago and some legislator, via a knee-jerk reaction to a crime, proposed a new law.

    Lastly, please take a look at the cost to each state to comply with SORNA, which is Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Act. Ohio and two tribal communities have complied. All the other states have determined it would be less expensive to lose the federal Byrne Fund money than try to conform to these requirements. Why continue to throw money at a failed program. Now an International Megan’s Law is being pushed by a group of legislators and the end result will not guarantee sex offenders are tracked internationally any more than a person on the “no fly list” who tried to set off a bomb in Times Square.

  2. @yellowroselady All you say is too true. Unfortunately whoever pushed this new bill is up for re-election...

    When will we all realize that voting Tweedledum out and putting in Tweedledee is an exercise in futility at best and an official obfuscation by those running at worse. I wonder what they're hiding from us.

  3. What is even better is when adjudication is withheld. So, you can vote, purchase firearms, even get a concealed weapons permit, but, you still have to follow these stupid laws. You can own a firearm, but stay away from the kids.

  4. Politicians will do anything for election. Sex offenders are the lowest hanging fruit available. I wish the facts of YellowRoseLady could be made more common knowledge. We live in a political society driven by fear, which is the way authoritarian nations like North Korea build their power. Terrorists, sex "predators", once it was Communists. I wonder what's next?