Bill advances that would expand list of crimes eligible for enhanced penalties for traveling criminals
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/10/23-Rep. John Snyder, R-Stuart, urges the House to pass the migrant relocation bill, Friday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

The Grinch — and others who travel with the intent to commit crimes — should face enhanced penalties, John Snyder argues.

The Grinch is real, Rep. John Snyder told lawmakers, and apparently the Stuart Republican believes he’s got more on his mind than ruining Christmas.

Snyder’s bill (HB 531) that the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee advanced at its first committee stop would expand the crimes eligible for enhanced penalties if the perpetrator traveled across county lines to commit them. Right now, burglary is the only crime that gets an enhanced charge for traveling across county lines to do the deed.

Snyder’s legislation follows two other laws that he proposed and had signed into law to bolster punishment against burglars called “traveling criminals.”

If it clears subsequent hurdles, this law will enhance charges against those who traveled to commit grand theft and “forcible crimes.” Burglary is on that list of crimes. So is treason, murder, manslaughter, sexual battery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, aggravated stalking, aircraft piracy, unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb, and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual, state statutes say.

“What we’re doing in this bill is expanding grand theft and forcible felonies into our traveling criminal statutes to give law enforcement and prosecutors the ability that if they could prove that that individual left their county of residence with the sole intention to go commit that crime, it is eligible for a one degree penalty enhancement,” Snyder said.

Rep. Mike Gottlieb of Davie was among the Democrats objecting, however. He argued that a crime of opportunity, say, taking a bike worth less than $750 off someone’s porch, could turn into 15 years in prison.

“There’s a very good likelihood that someone … is going to go to prison, potentially as a first-time offender because there’s no safeguards in the bill to prohibit it from applying to a first-time offender,” Gottlieb said.

But Rep. Webster Barnaby said that he was in full support of the bill and recalled when his home was broken into.

“We will make sure that the Grinch doesn’t visit your house,” the Deltona Republican said.

Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell has filed an identical bill (SB 538), awaiting its first committee hearing.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Earl Pitts "The Ronald's Un-Official Campaign Manager" American

    December 12, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    Good evening America,
    Welcome to The Great State of Florida where we are not soft on crime, where we love all our Great American Patriot Citizens, where we tolerate our Dook 4 Brains Leftist Citizens.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American
    ps: my bumper stickers are the greatest holiday stocking stuffers ever on the planet …. dont let your loved ones down …. get some now, thanks EPA

    • George Forman

      December 12, 2023 at 7:04 pm

      Earl I’ve been watching you and Ron, I like what I see, and Ron has my full support. This is truely Ron’s moment in history. George

    • rick whitaker

      December 12, 2023 at 8:36 pm


    • rick whitaker

      December 12, 2023 at 8:37 pm


  • Richard Russell

    December 13, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    Criminals deserve incarceration, not holidays. Multiple offenders should be treated worse than first time offenders. That might get the attention of the first time offenders so they don’t re-offend. But to put a first time offender in a prison with career criminals is absolutely absurd. If anything it will only be a source of educating the first time offender how to commit other crimes and possibly avoid capture. Doesn’t that make sense?????????

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