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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Legislature might let victims sue terrorist networks



Some Florida lawmakers want to grant victims of terrorism the right to sue co-conspirators of terrorists for damages.

The measure they're considering (SB 996 / HB 3) broadens state law by including people who "facilitate or further terrorism," because technically Floridians can already sue terrorists themselves if they are victimized.

But Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, acknowledged that suing a terrorist directly is "not a likely real world outcome."

"Most acts of terrorism when you investigate, there are others or a network of businesses that make it possible," and those people or entities could be targeted in lawsuits under the proposed law, Negron said.

The Senate version got unanimous support by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

"You saw in San Bernardino, several people involved. If they didn't participate, the crime never may have been committed," said Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando. "I'm glad you're casting a broad net to make sure we have justice for victims of terrorism."

Negron's bill has two more committee hearings, next before the criminal and civil justice budget subcommittee, which Negron chairs.

The House version of the bill --  sponsored by Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola Beach -- also cleared its first committee unanimously in December. It also has two further hearings, next before that chamber's Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 3:31pm]


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