Legislative Advocacy

Since 2002, Lauren Book and her father, influential lawyer-lobbyist Ron Book, have advocated for change in Florida law to better protect Florida’s children and families from abuse and support survivors.

To date, Lauren’s Kids has advocated for the passage of nearly two dozen legislative victories, including:

2018: Subpoenas in Investigations of Sexual Offenses

  • Enhances investigative or law enforcement agencies use of subpoenas in investigations involving certain sexual offenses

2018: Sexual Offenders and Predators

  • Enhances registration requirements for sexual offenders and sexual predators to allow for better monitoring and community control

2017: Expanding Court Therapy Animals in Proceedings Involving Minors

  • Expands admissibility of service animals, therapy animals, or facility dogs in proceedings involving abuse, abandonment, or neglect; allows these animals to be used when taking testimony of a person with an intellectual disability

2017: Public Records – Victim of Alleged Sexual Harassment/Identifying Information

  • Provides exemption from public records requirements for information related to allegation of sexual harassment that could lead to identification of victim

2017: Internet Identifiers of Sexual Predators

  • Requiring sexual predators to register each Internet identifier’s corresponding website homepage or application software name with FDLE through the Sheriff’s office, and to report any change to this information in a timely manner

2016: Evidence Collected in Sexual Offense Investigations – “End the Backlog”

  • Requires that a sexual offense evidence kit or other DNA evidence be submitted to a member of the statewide criminal analysis laboratory system within a specified timeframe; also requires testing

2015: Secret Recordings of Abusers Allowed in Court:

  • Allows the use of secretly recorded admissions by abusers to be used as evidence in court, when the victim is under the age of 18

2014: Florida Legislature’s “Protecting Florida’s Vulnerable” Initiative:

  • Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators: Strengthens the state’s civil commitment program by expanding DCF’s ability to screen offenders in prison and jail to determine whether an offender meets criteria for commitment to the Sexually Violent Predator Program.
  • Increased Sentencing: Imposes a mandatory sentence of 50 years for those convicted of the rape or torture of children, seniors or individuals with a disability.
  • Court Therapy Animals: Expands the court’s ability to allow use of service and therapy animals to aid a child victim or witness in a sexually motivated crime.
  • Increased Supervision of Offenders: Eliminates incentive gain-time eligibility for sexually violent offenses and mandates community supervision of sex offenders who do not receive the maximum prison sentence.

2014: Protection from Sexual Predators: Terminates parental rights of those who have been deemed sexual predators; mandates the placement of a red “P” on the driver’s licenses of sexual predators.

2013: Expanding Hearsay Exception for Victims: Allows an out of court statement made by a victim up to the age of 16, describing certain sex crimes, as admissible as evidence in a civil or criminal proceeding.

2013: Lauren’s Kids Specialty License Plate: Approved the creation and sale of a Lauren’s Kids specialty license plate. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will go toward the prevention of sexual abuse through awareness and education and to help survivors heal with guidance and support.

2012: Protection of Vulnerable Persons/Expansion of Mandatory Reporting: Created in response to the Penn State Scandal. Requires that all Floridians report known or suspected child abuse and if a report is not made, the non-reporter can be changed with a 3rd degree felony. Colleges and Universities that fail to report abuse also face 3rd degree felony charge and face up to a $1 million fine per offense. Florida is the only state to do so.

2011: Walk in Their Shoes Act: Expanded the admissibility of collateral crime or “similar fact” evidence in cases where a person is charged with child molestation or a sexual offense; authorized the use of service or therapy animals in courts hearing sexual offense cases.

2010: Eliminating Statute of Limitations: Eliminated the Statute of Limitations for both civil and criminal prosecutions for crimes committed against children under 16, related to Sexual Assault.

2010: Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Voluntary Contribution: Raises funds to fight childhood sexual abuse through voluntary driver’s license and registration renewals by a voluntary donation of $1 or more.

2009: Creation of Children’s Safety Zones: Prohibits convicted offenders and predators from loitering within 300 feet of a school, school bus stop, parks or similar locations where children typically congregate.

2009: Law Enforcement Victim Notification System: Requires that law enforcement officials must inform victims of sexual assault as to where they can receive treatment and care.

2008: Employment Protections for Victims of Sexual Violence: Allows victims of sexual violence to take up to three days of leave, which is paid or unpaid at the discretion of the employer, to deal with issues arising from the crime.

2007: Forensic Exams for Non-Reporting Victims: Ensures that physical evidence of a sexual assault is collected immediately, while allowing victims of sexual assault time to make a decision about whether to report their abuse.

2006: Cybersex Crimes/State Law: Increases penalties for cybersex violators including increased penalties for pedophiles.

2004: Lauren Book Protection Act: Made it a felony for offenders to contact their victims or the victim’s family after conviction.

2003: HIV Testing Law: Assures victims (or, in the case of a minor, the victim’s family) can get a timely HIV test of the accused (within a 48 hour time period).

2003: Residency Restrictions: On average, sets a 2,500 foot distance from where predators and offenders may live from schools, parks, day care centers, and places where children congregate.*

2003: Sexual Assault Treatment Centers: Created a statewide fund for Sexual Assault Treatment Centers, with a funding mechanism and funding grants. This network assures that all Floridians have access to quality sexual assault treatment facilities and qualified sexual assault treatment counselors.

*Local ordinances differ in every community.