"Senator, if the Legislature is concerned about these (aggravated) assaults, take them out of 10-20-Life," Cervone said.

"Well, I think this bill does that," Evers replied.

The panel then passed the measure unanimously.

But the bill's best omen for success this year may be that the Florida Sheriffs Association will remain neutral. On Wednesday, association spokeswoman Sarrah Carroll confirmed that the group would not oppose the measure.

Now called the Threatened Use of Force Act, the bill faces two more House committees and two more Senate committees.