Carolina Amesty wants drunk drivers who kill parents to pay child support
Among those candidates getting Chamber endorsements is Carolina Amesty

Carolina Amesty ART
Bentley's Law is named for a surviving Missouri child whose parents were killed in a car crash.

Drunk drivers who cause the death of a parent could soon be on the hook for financially supporting their child.

Rep. Carolina Amesty, a Windermere Republican, filed legislation (HB 79) to enact a Florida version of “Bentley’s Law.” The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)-backed bill is modeled after legislation first passed in Missouri and championed by bereaved grandmother Cecilia Williams.

“I’m honored to file this important legislation in the Florida House,” Amesty said.

“Those careless enough to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated can change the life of a dependent child forever, and the punishment for that is to ensure the financial well-being of that child until the age of 18. The child support must be of compensation that includes the standards of living the child was accustomed (to) prior to the losing its parent or guardian. With this legislation, we hope to curtail the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving while holding drunk drivers accountable and supporting victims’ families.”

Williams has championed the legislation in other states. The grandmother has pursued action since 2021, when a drunk driver rear-ended a vehicle and killed her son, Cordell, his fiancée, Lacey, and their infant child Cordell, as reported by Missouri news station KSAT. Williams now raises grandsons Mason and Bentley, the late couple’s other sons.

“I knew exactly what I wanted and that was to create Bentley’s Law to make drunk drivers or those who drive under the influence, financially responsible for the children that they leave behind because of their actions,” Williams told the news outlet.

Amesty filed the bill, with Rep. Sam Killebrew, a Winter Haven Republican, a co-sponsor.

As filed, the bill would authorize a judge to order a convicted drunk driver who kills a parent to pay child support to a surviving parent or to the legal guardian until the child of the deceased reaches adulthood. That includes money for basic needs, as well as potential physical or emotional needs in the wake of an accident.

The judge could order the pay be pulled from a convicted driver’s income, and also allows for full court costs for a legal guardian to be put on the shoulders of the individual responsible for the death.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 3, 2023 at 5:45 am

    Yes! Do the same for children birthed by a human! The man that made the baby is responsible as the woman.

Comments are closed.


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 @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704