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Bill requiring safe-exchange locations for minor hits the governor’s desk

Senior Editor Top Stories
Rep. Hillary Cassel

Rep. Hillary Cassel

The clock is running for Gov. Ron DeSantis to decide the fate of a Family Law Section priority bill that would require safe-exchange locations for minor children.

HB 385 by Democratic Rep. Hillary Cassel, a Hollywood attorney, and Republican Rep. Joel Rudman, a Navarre physician, was among 27 bills lawmakers forwarded to DeSantis late Tuesday.

“Cassie Carli’s Law,” honors the memory of a 37-year-old Northwest Florida mother who vanished in 2022 after exchanging her toddler daughter in a restaurant parking lot.

Rep. Joel Rudman

Rep. Joel Rudman

The woman’s body was discovered six weeks later in Alabama and the child’s father is facing charges.

The measure would authorize courts to require a safe-exchange location if there is “competent substantial evidence that there is a risk or an imminent threat of harm to one parent or the child during the actual exchange.”

The bill requires sheriffs in every county to designate a portion of their parking lot as a safe-exchange location.

Another provision would require petitions for protective orders to contain a checkbox to request a safe-exchange location.

Miami attorney Anya Stern, speaking on behalf of the Family Law Section, told a House panel the bill would protect parents and children without creating due process concerns.

“The family law judges and general magistrates will identify these high-conflict families,” she said.

DeSantis has until June 5 to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

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