Amid workplace-safety concerns, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a bill that will increase criminal penalties for people who assault Florida hospital employees and volunteers.
Lawmakers passed the bill (HB 825) during the legislative session that ended May 5. State law has included increased penalties for people who assault emergency-room employees, but the bill expands those protections to other hospital workers.
After the House passed the bill on April 20, the Florida Hospital Association released a statement that said hospital workers are six times more likely than average workers to suffer from violence.
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“This legislation will lead to better patient care by creating a safer working environment for our healthcare workers,” Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the association, said at the time.
Assault charges typically are second-degree misdemeanors, but under the bill they will be upgraded to first-degree misdemeanors for assaults on hospital workers.
Similarly, battery charges are typically first-degree misdemeanors but will be upgraded to third-degree felonies.
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