Connect with us
Linda Stewart image via Colin Hackley.

Headlines

Donna’s Law sexual assault bill headed to Ron DeSantis’ desk

HB 199 would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual assault against minors.

The Legislature sent Donna’s Law, a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual assault against minor victims, to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday after unanimously passing it in both chambers.

Senators passed the House’s version of the law (HB 199), co-sponsored by Rep. Tracie Davis and Rep. Scott Plakon, after the House passed it Monday. Sen. Linda Stewart carried it through the Senate.

The bill is named after Donna Hedrick who was sexually abused by her music teacher and finally went public with her story after more than 40 years. Currently, a patchwork of statutes of limitations apply to victims under 18 depending on their age, how soon they reported the abuse and other reporting requirements.

“This is a major win for survivors and shows the true power of speaking out and sharing your story,” Stewart, an Orlando Democrat, said. “This is proof that the Florida Legislature hears your voices, and that change is made by people who show the strength to come forward and fight to protect victims.”

The bill will not apply to offenses committed before July 1.

“When I think of the many lives that this bill could impact in the future and the message that it will send to people who seek to hurt children in Florida, I cannot help but think of the lives it could have touched, had there been no statute of limitations on the prosecution of sexual battery against minors on the books,” Davis, a Jacksonville Democrat, said.

“Over the years, time limitations have continued to expand for victims, but the time has finally come for them to be removed altogether for minors. This is just the right thing to do, and I thank my colleagues in both chambers for listening to the experiences and being a part of this positive change for the future,” said Stewart.

Stewart’s version of the bill (SB 170) passed its committee stops with unanimous votes.

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering the Texas House of Representatives for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.