Tougher hazing laws backed in Florida Senate

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A proposal that would expand the state's anti-hazing laws drew unanimous support Tuesday from the Senate.

The measure (SB 1080) was crafted a year after Andrew Coffey, a Florida State University fraternity pledge from Lighthouse Point, died after drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon that had been taped to his hand.

His parents, Tom and Sandy Coffey, worked with lawmakers to toughen laws to address people who plan or engage in hazing at college and universities.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, targets people who plan acts of hazing or solicit others to engage in hazing and would make it a third-degree felony if the hazing results in a permanent injury.

The bill also would provide immunity to people who call 911 or campus security to report the need for medical assistance during a hazing incident.

A companion measure (HB 727) awaits a hearing in the House.