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Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release
Attorney General Touts 2009 Legislative Accomplishments
~ Significant progress made toward protecting Floridians’ investments, promoting public safety ~
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today praised members of the Florida Legislature for partnering with him on a wide range of bills geared at increasing consumer protection and public safety.
“I commend our lawmakers for their leadership in these challenging times and for the efforts they have made to protect Floridians,” said Attorney General McCollum. “Because of these actions, we have better tools to protect our citizens’ physical and financial safety.”
The Attorney General’s legislative successes included the following:
The Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act (HB 483) – This important legislation increases the State’s ability to combat securities fraud by allowing the Attorney General to seek civil penalties and restitution for victims of securities fraud. This legislation also allows the Office of Statewide Prosecution to investigate prosecute securities fraud and money laundering.
Sponsors: Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples) and Representative Tom Grady (R-Naples).
The Florida False Claims Act (SB 1986) was amended to comply with the Federal False Claims Act which will result in the State receiving an extra 10 percent of recoveries from Medicaid fraud cases, which are pursued by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Sponsors: Senator Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and Representative Nick Thompson (R-Ft. Myers).
Lawmakers approved federal stimulus funding for Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force positions, which will provide four additional forensic analysts specifically for the Attorney General’s CyberCrime Unit. These positions are vital to the unit’s mission because they will enhance the unit’s forensic abilities, decrease the time necessary for forensic analysis of evidence, and enable law enforcement officers to spend more time working cases in the field rather than conducting the forensic analysis. The CyberCrimes Against Children Act of 2007 was also enhanced to require anyone convicted of traveling to meet a child for sex to register with the state as a sex offender.
Another top priority for the Attorney General, the Coordinating Council on Criminal Gang Reduction Strategies, was authorized to continue its work through the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The Coordinating Council is responsible for measuring the progress of the gang reduction strategies throughout Florida, led by the Attorney General.
Finally, the Legislature approved recurring funding for the Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, which is housed in the Office of the Attorney General. Created by the Legislature during the 2006 Legislative Session, the Council is charged with making a systematic study of the conditions affecting Black men and boys including homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rate, poverty, violence, drug abuse, death rates, disparate annual income levels, health issues and school performance. The goal of the Council is to propose measures to alleviate and correct the underlying causes of the conditions described above. The recurring funds will continue to provide the Council with the resources needed to continue its mission.