Cherish Perrywinkle: Florida legislators to pass sexual predator laws

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Lawmakers are coming to the Capitol next week in agreement that some of the first bills they'll pass could have saved the life of an 8-year-old Jacksonville girl.

The death last June of Cherish Perrywinkle, who was abducted at a Wal-Mart, is part of the inspiration to try to close loopholes in the state program that allows the civil commitment of sexual predators once they've completed their prison terms.

A package of bills is ready for a vote as soon as the Senate begins its annual 60-day session and the House is expected to approve them the following week.

The man charged with murder in Perrywinkle's death could have been reviewed for civil commitment if the bills had been laws when he was released from jail shortly before her death. But the law then didn't allow it.

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