'43 Days Initiative,' Revenge Porn Ban Among Measures Headed To Gov. Scott

Apr 30, 2015

Credit MGN Online

Two bills aimed at protecting victims of sex-related crimes are now headed to Governor Rick Scott.

The so-called Revenge porn ban received final approval in the Senate Wednesday. It makes it illegal to post sexually explicit videos or images of exes on websites.

Its Senate sponsor, Altamonte Springs Republican David Simmons, says he had to accept a watered down version of the bill in order for it to pass.

“What we have now is a situation where our bill—which dealt with all electronic forms of distribution of this kind of inappropriate set of pictures—pictures that were previously intended to be kept confidential and certainly very intimate. The House bill provides that only those that are on websites will be criminal, a first degree misdemeanor, and thereafter, if there are more than one instances, a felony,” said Simmons.

Simmons says because the House adjourned early amid the budget impasse with the Senate, he was forced to accept the bill that still needed some changes to be made—which troubled Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater).

“I’m wondering if this is going to fall in the categories of something where we think we did something, and we’re going to find out later we really didn’t. So, what I want to zero in a little bit here is that I think I heard you just say it’s okay to put on the internet, photographs or videos of Jack Latvala in a compromising position, as long as you don’t put my name on it,” he said, to some laughter.

And, Simmons says while Latvala’s concerns are valid, he hopes to change that part in the bill next year. And, he says while he probably would have tabled the issue for now, a victim convinced him to move forward.

“And, a young lady whose a stakeholder in this issue actually came over to Gold’s gym, came to me and said, ‘this is the only way I know I can talk to you, and this is a serious, serious problem, and I do hope that even though the House bill does not contain all of the protections that it ought to have for people who are victims of this pernicious crime, that we, in fact, go ahead and pass it,’” said Simmons.

Meanwhile, another measure extending the statute of limitations for a rape victim to report the crime also passed the Senate. It’s by Sen. Darren Soto (D-Orlando).

“This bill would extend the statute of limitations from four to eight years for sexual offenses,” said Soto. “It would also clean up language regarding sexting that would require the first penalty to be a civil fine. It was found to be vague when the appellate court hadn’t made an interpretation of it.”

The “43 Days Initiative” Act—as it’s called—was originally named after a rape survivor, who waited four years and 43 days to report what occurred—surpassing the limit by 43 days.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.