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Gov. DeSantis signs bills targeting sexual predators

CBS News Live
CBS News Miami Live

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed five bills, including legislation that he said will help curb online "grooming" of children.

One of the bills (HB 1545) will increase criminal penalties for any adult who engages "in a pattern of verbal or written communication to a minor that includes explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual activity, sexual conduct, or sexual excitement and that is harmful to minors."

Another bill (HB 1131) will set up the "Online Sting Operations Grant Program" at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to help pay for local sting operations that target people who prey on children online.

During an appearance in St. Petersburg, DeSantis said, "We're going to crack down on the grooming of these minors. And the fact of the matter is with the rise of the internet and social media and all these different apps that has been a playground for these predators to go in and to groom these young kids." 

One of the other bills (SB 1224) will require law enforcement to be trained on how to assess if domestic violence victims are at higher risk of death or serious injury. 

DeSantis said the bill was, in part, inspired by the family of Gabby Petito, who was killed in 2021 by her fiancé in a case that drew widespread attention.

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