Florida House Passes Jessica Lunsford Act

The state House on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill named after a 9-year-old girl who was abducted and killed last month that would bolster punishments for sex offenders.

The Jessica Lunsford Act (search) would set a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison for people convicted of molesting children under 12. If offenders serve less than life, they would be required to wear a global positioning system device after their release so authorities could monitor their whereabouts.

The Senate is expected to take up its version of the legisla bill would go to Gov. Jeb Bush, who said Tuesday that he supports the bills' general intent.

Jessica, a third-grader, disappeared from her Homosassa home Feb. 23. A sex offender who was staying nearby, John Evander Couey (search), admitted to kidnapping and killing her, then burying her body, police said. He is charged with murder and other crimes.

The House action came two days after another sex offender was charged in the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Sarah Lunde (search) of Ruskin. David Onstott allegedly told police he choked Sarah and dumped her body in a pond on April 10.

Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford, was one of several parents of murdered children who were at the Capitol Tuesday lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill.