Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a legislative proposal Thursday that he says would help crack down on crime in the state strengthening punishment for child rapists, among other things.
Speaking from Miami, DeSantis announced that the comprehensive proposal is to “maintain and further improve Florida’s 50-year record low crime rate.”
The legislation would limit those eligible for release prior to first appearance and would reform Florida’s death penalty statute to ensure that those “convicted of the most heinous crimes are punished accordingly,” said a press release from his office.
Current law requires a unanimous jury recommendation to impose a death sentence. This proposal reduces the number of jurors required for a recommendation of death from unanimity to a super majority jury recommendation.
Currently, dozens of defendants in Florida are being resentenced following the 2020 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court finding non-unanimous death sentences unconstitutional. At this time, it’s not clear how DeSantis’ proposal would impact those cases and future ones.
DeSantis’ office says the proposed legislation would also crack down on fentanyl crisis, making it a first degree felony to possess, sell, or manufacture fentanyl and other controlled substances that resemble candy. It would also add a mandatory life sentence and $1 million penalty for trafficking such substances that target children.