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Rick Scott signs counterterrorism bill into law

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 457 into law, a measure that boosts penalties for terrorism charges.

Among those charges: paramilitary training from foreign terrorist organizations; lending material support to those organizations; joining those organizations; and agri-terrorism.

The bill creates a more expansive definition of “terrorism” and “terrorist activities” in the wake of the Pulse massacre in June.

Terroristic crimes, intended to “influence … affect … or retaliate against” a government via attacking citizens, would be defined as felonies of the first degree in the legislation, drawing a maximum prison term of 30 years.

Sen. Aaron Bean carried the Senate version (SB 476), and noted that the bill was a priority of Gov. Scott, who had this to say in a Thursday afternoon news release.

“Last year, Florida came under attack when an ISIS-inspired terrorist stormed into Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and killed 49 innocent people. Today, while we continue to mourn this tragic loss of life, we are doing everything in our power to make sure that no family or community experiences that pain again,” Scott noted.

“This important legislation will help ensure that those responsible for acts of terror like this are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and continue our efforts to prevent future attacks. I’d like to thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their hard work on this bill. I’m proud to sign it into law today,” Scott added.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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