Two Florida bills were recently filed by Tallahassee lawmakers. Because of these two bills, there could soon be a law that would fine someone up to $500 for failure to act at the scene of an emergency, while knowing someone is injured.
The bills were filed for the 2019 legislative session, regarding failure to provide "reasonable assistance" at the scene of an emergency. An example of reasonable assistance is calling 911.
The proposal filed would not make it mandatory that people put themselves or anyone else at risk; simply calling the police or a hospital would suffice. The bills are an expansion on the already known "Good Samaritan" law, which offers legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those injured.
Senator Jason Pizzo of Miami filed a measure for the Good Samaritan law, called Senate Bill 800. In the senator's bill, a person could face a misdemeanor charge and up to a $500 fine if they fail to act.
House Representative John Cortes of Kissimmee filed House Bill 147. The House Bill would require people to "provide reasonable assistance to another person injured, ill, or in peril."
The bills were put together in a measure to prevent deaths like that of the death of a 31-year-old disabled man in 2017. In Cocoa, FL, a group of teens stood at the side of a pond, mocking the man and filming as he drowned. The group did not face any criminal charges.
House Representative John Cortes hopes that the bill will lead more people to take action when they see others at risk. He stated, "It's common sense. Anything you see, you can call it in and remain anonymous."
The bills have not yet been heard by the Senate committee. The 2019 legislative session starts on March 5th.