Florida to cut hourly rate motels as anti-human trafficking measure added to Miya’s law

A measure against human trafficking defended by the Republican representative of Tampa. Jackie Toledo who was believed dead could take effect shortly after being resurrected on the penultimate day of Florida’s legislative session.

Toledo introduced the Human Trafficking Reduction Act (HB 1439) in January, in addition to the anti-trafficking measures, it was adopted Last year. The bill sought to end hourly rates in motels and hotels. The bill also sought to increase the penalty for a first sex lawyer — making it a misdemeanor to a felony — and create a statewide human trafficking data repository. at the University of South Florida.

“I said this last year and I’ll say it again, we want to make sure the message is loud and clear that Florida is closed to human trafficking,” Toledo said when presenting the draft. law.

Toledo’s bill seemed like an easy pass after receiving unanimous support from three House committees. He was then joined to SB 772sponsored by Republican Senator. Keith Perrywhich aims to “protect a child, a person with a developmental disability or a victim of a sexual offense against harm or abuse that may result from giving evidence in a legal proceeding or during a deposition”.

Perry’s bill was also passed unanimously by three Senate committees and even passed unanimously in a full Senate vote about a month before it was joined with HB 1439. the House to combine the bills meant that the Senate had to give it another vote. But on Wednesday, both measures seemed dead since the modified SB 772 was not going to get another vote before the end of the session.

But what would a march in Tallahassee be without a bit of legislative necromancy?

Toledo was able to revive a key provision of HB 1439 by adding it to Miya’s Law (SB 898).

Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old student, was allegedly murdered by a maintenance worker in her building. The suspect had a violent criminal history, an obsession with her and a master key that unlocked his apartment, but killed himself before being arrested. Miya’s law would add protections to tenants by requiring apartment owners to conduct criminal background checks on employees who may enter apartments. And it places strict control and monitoring of apartment master keys. The law would also require apartment workers to give tenants at least 24 hours notice before entering an apartment, up from the current requirement of at least 12 hours.

The Miya Act, which was seen as a legislative victory by Democrats this year, also received unanimous support in both houses. Toledo was able to get the hourly rate portion of HB 1439 added to Miya’s law before the House vote, returning it to the Senate where it was. again adopted unanimously.

Toledo said she was disappointed the measure to increase penalties was not added, but promised to encourage her colleagues to fight back as she made a run for the newly drawn 15th congressional district. Toledo has also vowed to take its fight against human trafficking to the national stage if it wins the seat.

According to National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida ranks third in the nation for most reports. And the fight against trafficking Polaris Project notes that hourly rates are often a key indicator that human trafficking might be taking place in a facility.

Miya’s law will then head to the governor’s office.


Jason Delgado and Scott Powers of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

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