New bill could make digital threats of violence a crime
State Representative Janet Adkins, R- District 12, has filed a bill for the 2010 Legislative Session to amend Florida Statute related to threats of violence. This bill will expand enforcement of threats of violence to include threats made orally, by electronic means of communication (i.e. text and e-mail), and with social networking internet sites (i.e. Facebook and MySpace).
“I believe that this bill will provide law enforcement with better tools and a 21st century solution for combating violent crimes and threats of violence made on citizens in the State of Florida,” said Adkins. “It is appropriate that the language is modified in an effort to keep the laws of our great State current with increased technology and ensure protection for all citizens.”
House Bill 317 (HB 317) filed on November 5, 2009 by Representative Adkins will make it a violation to threaten a person in relation to a case of domestic violence or a domestic violence complaint. Additionally, this bill expands threats of death or unlawful bodily injury to a person or any member of the family of such person to include communications made using electronic or other means.
“The threat law will ensure no one’s rights are violated by threats or intimidation that could put a person in fear of their life,” said Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves. “This is especially pertinent with today’s interaction on the Web. This law will enable law enforcement to seek justice for a person who may be living in fear day to day.”
Under current law, if a person sends a post to a social networking site, an e-mail or text message threatening bodily harm to a person or their property, law enforcement cannot take action upon the person making the threat. This legislation would enable law enforcement to take action on such threats made.
“This bill will ensure that law enforcement will have the tools needed to ensure greater levels of personal accountability when a threat is made,” stated Adkins. “The act and/or use of threats create fear in the mind of the victim. No one should live with fear. As a state, we can ensure that people will no longer be able to use threats as a tool of creating intimidation and fear.”
“This new state threat law will help to reduce domestic violence and will make Florida a safer place to work, live and raise a family,” remarked Adkins.
“I would like to congratulate Representative Janet Adkins for her leadership in protecting the citizens of our counties,” said Sheriff Seagraves.
With support of local law enforcement, this is the first bill to be filed by Representative Adkins for the 2010 Legislative Session. This bill can be followed as it progresses through committee by accessing Representative Adkins page on the website at www.myfloridahouse.gov and selecting the Sponsored Bills tab.
Anyone wishing to receive additional information should contact Amanda Young at or 904-491-3664
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