Taking a no-nonsense stance against Internet predators, sex offenders, and crimes committed against law enforcement officers, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed five bills into law today. Crist also proposed that the Florida Supreme Court empanel a statewide grand jury to investigate gang activities, The News-Press reported.

Expanding the CyberCrimes division was a win-win for both the governor and Attorney General Bill McCollum.  The Office of Statewide Prosecution had requested that the special multi-jurisdictional grand jury investigate organized operations ranging from drug dealing and theft to computer pornography and racketeering.  

According to McCollum, expanding the reach of the cyber-crimes unit from six employees to 56 will enable investigative officers to work with city and county police statewide to help quell sexual predators' use of online chat rooms or social networking sites to find minors.

"There is absolutely nothing more important than protecting our people, especially Florida's children," says Crist.

In addition to the CyberCrimes Act, the new laws include SB 1604, which tightens registration criteria for sex offenders, HB 409, which increases penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers, and HB 25, which increases penalties for drunk drivers who leave the scene of an accident. HB 25 also toughens manslaughter penalties.

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