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Scott signs new "sexting" law easing punishment for minors

'Sexting' law eases penalties for Fla. minors

Florida law now has a section on "sexting." Among 46 proposals Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Tuesday is a measure easing punishments on minors who send sexually explicit text messages, photos or videos via electronic data transmission, like cell phones. Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, and Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, sponsored the bill (HB 75) to shield children who send risque texts from being prosecuted for big-time offenses, like child-pornography distribution. Under the law, first-time violations come with a $60 fine or eight hours of community service. Subsequent violations have harsher penalties. A second offense is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.

Charlie Justice eyeing a return

Among those keeping a close eye on the redistricting discussion is former state Sen. Charlie Justice, a Democrat from St. Petersburg. Justice says he may attempt to return to Senate in 2012 if a new Pinellas County seat is drawn to include the African-American neighborhoods in St. Petersburg. Many of those neighborhoods are now part of a district held by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa. Justice said new constitutional requirements that districts be geographically compact means Joyner may lose some of those neighborhoods, which are separated from most of her largely Hillsborough County district by water, namely Tampa Bay. "A lot of people are just talking like it's a foregone conclusion, but no map has been produced," Justice said. "If you did have a district like that, it would be interesting and competitive. A lot of people have asked me to run for that even though it's not drawn yet. It's something I'm giving thought to."

Jeff Greene's yacht is up for sale

Jeff Greene's 145-foot party yacht, Summerwind, is up for sale, the New York Post reports. The billionaire and former Florida candidate for the U.S. Senate also recently closed on a 55-acre estate in the Hamptons for $41 million, multiple New York media outlets reported. "We're not using (the yacht), it's just parked out there," Greene said, adding he barely uses it now that he's a dad.

Gov. Scott dumps insurance website

Gov. Rick Scott dumped a website launched by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2007 to help consumers shop for property insurance. Crist unveiled shopandcomparerates.com on the day he signed legislation freezing rates for the state-run Citizens Property Insurance, the insurer of last resort for many Florida homeowners. The comparison site allowed consumers to click on a county to see a representative sample of companies and rates for insuring a typical Florida home with a list of insurers sorted from lowest to highest and links to company information. Scott took down the website in April for "enhancements and upgrades," said Lane Wright, a spokesman for the governor. But then the governor decided not to host the site on his server at all, Wright said. The state's Office of Insurance Regulation is planning to relaunch the website, a spokesman said.

Times staff writers Katie Sanders, Janet Zink and Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.

Scott signs new "sexting" law easing punishment for minors 06/21/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 10:31pm]
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