The start of the new year brings new initiatives from Florida State Senator Blaise Ingoglia and other lawmakers. On Jan. 3, the Senator filed three bills: two aimed at protecting Florida’s children from sexual predators and the other looking to educate the public on slavery. Prepared statements on the first Wednesday of the year went into further detail on the trio of laws put forth by the lawmakers.
The Protect Our Children Act and the Online Sting Operations Grant Program bills were filed by Senator Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), Representative Michelle Salzman (R-Pensacola), and Representative John Temple (R-Wildwood). The Kamala Harris Truth in Slavery Teaching Act was proposed by Senator Ingoglia alongside Representative Kiyan Michael (R-Jacksonville).
The first of these three, SB 1196/HB 1129, will enhance the punishments for adults who groom and prey on minors by engaging in conversations online that are of a sexually-explicit nature. If passed and signed into law, this bill will take effect on October 1, 2024. The Protect Our Children Act creates special protections for victims under the age of 18 and creates mandatory guidelines and password filters for manufacturers of smart devices like tablets and smartphones.
“By addressing the risks associated with social media and mobile devices, this law reinforces our commitment to ensuring a secure and nurturing environment for every child, shielding them from potential harm and empowering parents and guardians with the tools needed to safeguard their well-being,” said Representative Salzman.
The second bill, SB 1190/HB 1131, will take effect on July 1, 2024, if passed and signed into law. It will aid local law enforcement agencies by providing funding for the establishment of sting operation budgets. These operations will target individuals that prey, or attempt to prey, on children due to the Online Sting Operations Grant Program.
“These two bills will give law enforcement the tools they need in order to put online child predators behind bars for a long, long time,” Senator Ingoglia said. “Keeping these low-lifes off the street and having them on the sex offender registry will help ensure our children are protected from the ever-present harms of social media platforms.”
Senator Ingoglia also worked with Representative Kiyan Michael to file SB 1192/HB 1139, which is a bill that requires a comprehensive teaching of African American history in schools. According to the prepared statement, this would include an extensive account of the sociopolitical conditions surrounding slavery.
The Truth in Slavery Teaching Act would include the education of students on which political parties supported slavery and adopted such principles to their platform.
“Like most Black Americans, I was raised never knowing the truth that the Democrat Party was the party of fighting for and keeping slavery, and the reason for the formation of the Republican Party was to abolish it,” Representative Michael said. “It is a valuable, yet hidden, piece of our American history. This bill will bring forth these truths and expose the political party’s roles regarding the heinous institution of slavery.”