“We thank the Florida legislature for today passing HB 7035 and its companion SB 1372, which contains a provision requiring the court to hold until first appearance a defendant who has been charged with anything other than a misdemeanor traffic violation in order to determine whether the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense that would require the defendant to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator. This change, prohibiting the release of a defendant until the defendant’s sex offender registry status is determined, allows the full participation of prosecutors and we believe that it guarantees a high level of protection for the public. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz and Sen. Rob Bradley and supported by Lauren’s Kids and the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, will now to go Governor Rick Scott’s desk to be signed into law. This is yet another example of our state leaders’ commitment to the protection of children and families in Florida, and we commend them for their great work on this issue.”
Lauren’s Kids is a non-profit organization that works to prevent abuse and help survivors heal. The organization, which has offices in Aventura, Florida and Tallahassee, Florida, was started by Lauren Book, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who endured abuse at the hands of her nanny for six years. Her organization offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, elementary school prevention curriculum, an annual 1,500-mile awareness walk, legislative advocacy and speaking engagements. For more information, visit laurenskids.org.