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Gabby Petito-inspired crime bill heads to DeSantis’ desk after passing Florida legislature

gabby-petito-inspired-crime-bill-heads-to-desantis’-desk-after-passing-florida-legislature
Gabby Petito-inspired crime bill heads to DeSantis’ desk after passing Florida legislature

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A crime bill to benefit children and victims of domestic violence is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis after passing both houses of the Florida legislature with support from the family of slain travel blogger Gabby Petito and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The Protection of Children and Victims of Crime bill passed unanimously in the state House and Senate on Wednesday.

“We are thrilled to see the child welfare and lethality assessment Bill 1224 pass in the state of Florida,” Petito’s father, Joe Petito, told Fox News Digital. “It’s a significant milestone in the fight against domestic violence.”

BRIAN LAUNDRIE’S PARENTS ADMIT BEING WORRIED ABOUT GABBY PETITO’S WELL-BEING WHEN HE CALLED DAYS AFTER MURDER

Gabby Petito bodycam

Gabby Petito appears highly distraught on an Aug. 12, 2021 police bodycam video showing the couple pulled over in response to a report of a domestic incident between them. (Moab PD )

After his daughter’s murder in 2021, he and other family members and supporters started the Gabby Petito Foundation to battle domestic violence and raise awareness of missing person cases. They have lobbied for bills at the state and federal level, supporting the bipartisan Help Find the Missing Act, as well as measures in Utah.

The Florida bill aims to establish a lethality assessment protocol (LAP) in the state, a procedure for law enforcement to quickly evaluate whether a domestic violence victim faces imminent danger, serious injury or even death.

In its Florida form, the LAP consists of 12 questions police must ask the victim when responding to a domestic violence call.

FLORIDA GOV RON DESANTIS SIGNS LAW WITH BIG POTENTIAL IMPACT ON EPSTEIN CASE

Gabby Petito wrongful death suit Moab Police Department Utah

Joe Petito speaks in front of a photograph of his daughter at a news briefing in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. The family has successfully lobbied for lethality assessment protocols in both Utah and Florida. (Fox News Digital)

Two weeks before her murder, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a domestic violence call in which a witness reported seeing her fiance and travel companion Brian Laundrie hitting her in public and trying to drive off without her.

Although she was clearly overwhelmed and upset, police made no arrests and instead split the couple up for the night. A LAP evaluation could have saved her life, according to her parents.

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Gabby Petito appeared upset on Moab police bodycam

This police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

The following questions must be asked in “the same or similar wording” and in the same order:

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  1. Did the aggressor ever use a weapon against you or threaten you with a weapon?
  2. Did the aggressor ever threaten to kill you or your children?
  3. Do you believe the aggressor will try to kill you?
  4. Has the aggressor ever choked you or attempted to choke you?
  5. Does the aggressor have a gun or could the aggressor easily obtain a gun?
  6. Is the aggressor violently or constantly jealous, or does the aggressor control most of your daily activities?
  7. Did you leave or separate from the aggressor after you were living together or married?
  8. Is the aggressor unemployed?
  9. To the best of your knowledge, has the aggressor ever attempted suicide?
  10. Do you have a child whom the aggressor believes is not the aggressor’s biological child?
  11. Has the aggressor ever followed, spied on, or left threatening messages for you?
  12. Is there anything else that worries you about your safety and, if so, what worries you?

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Gabby Petito at Bryce Canyon

Gabby Petito poses for an Instagram photo in Bryce Canyon National Park. (Family of Gabby Petito)

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If the victim answers yes to questions 1-4, or yes to at least four of the remaining questions, law enforcement is required to refer them to a certified domestic violence center. The officer must also create a written report indicating the results of the LAP.

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