School officials and contractors all over Florida were counting on a bill this spring to fix some of the bureaucratic snafus with the Jessica Lunsford Act.
But, the crush of last-minute legislation apparently doomed the bill that was supposed to make it easier to keep students safe from sex predators.
More than a year after the Jessica Lunsford Act to keep students safe from sex offenders passed, school districts still don’t know who needs to be fingerprinted when they come onto school grounds. And contractors are still frustrated because the rules change from county to county.
The bill that was supposed to address those problems died in the final minutes of the legislative session. The state contractor’s association worked hard on the compromise.
Spokesman Bill Spann says they were disappointed it didn’t go anywhere. “We need a workable, enforceable policy, because after all, it is to protect the children and our members have children in those school districts, too.”
Among other things, the bill would have put a person’s conviction for a sex offense right on their driver’s license. Even people who are part of the legislative process are at a loss to explain why such an important bill got held up.
Towson Frazier is a spokesman for Rep. Allan Bense’s office. “I’m not sure, to be honest with you. It was kind of confusing for us here. We saw the senate bill pass out of the Senate at 12:30 Thursday and just never get sent over here until frankly, it was too late, until time ran out.”
A frustrated David Mosrie with the State Superintendent’s Association says now schools are stuck waiting for next year to get clarification on the law. “Hopefully people will realize that kind of bureaucracy didn’t belong in a school district. It needs to be handled by people who area experienced in doing those things, primarily law enforcement.”
For now at least, schools and contractors will have to continue putting up with the red tape.