‘Good Samaritan' proposal filed in Florida House

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Failure to provide “reasonable assistance” at the scene of an emergency to a person who is seriously injured could result in a fine of up to $500, under a bill filed Wednesday.

The “Good Samaritan” measure (HB 147), filed by Rep. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee, could lead to a second-degree misdemeanor for failing to offer help, which could be provided by calling law enforcement or medical personnel.

The proposal, which is filed for the 2019 legislative session, wouldn’t require people to put themselves or anyone else in danger.

A stricter Good Samaritan proposal was offered in the 2018 session but was not heard in committees.

The 2018 proposal by Sen. Debbie Mayfield and former Rep. Tom Goodson, both Rockledge Republicans, sought to impose a first-degree misdemeanor for failing to provide reasonable assistance to a person in “imminent danger” of grave physical harm.

Penalties would have increased to a third-degree felony for a person who failed to offer assistance or electronically recorded and posted online the incident.

The measure was crafted in response to a group of teens in Cocoa who in 2017 stood on the side of a pond, commenting and mocking while filming as a 31-year-old disabled man drowned.