Sen. Rick Scott Meets With VHA Leaders
VHA president Peter Russell, left, and vice president Dave Fountaine, talk senior issues with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL, recently at lunch at Harvest Restaurant. VHA leaders welcome the opportunity to have constructive conversations with policymakers at all levels of government to help further their advocacy mission for residents.

The Florida senator was a victim on an emergency hoax at his home last month.

Sen. Rick Scott, Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Sen. Mike Rounds on Wednesday introduced the Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act. The bill aims to expand the federal criminal hoax statute to specifically prohibit “swat- ting” hoaxes through which false information about a crime is reported to law enforcement with the intent of eliciting an emergency response at a target address.

This legislation would impose strict penalties for swatting, including up to 20 years in prison if someone is seriously hurt because of a swatting attack. The bill is endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) and the National Sheriffs’ Association. Scott himself was recently a victim of one of these emergency hoax attempts.

“Last month, criminals attempted a ‘swatting’ on my home in Florida in a despi- cable act of cowardice, clearly intending to terrorize my family and inflict fear and violence,” Scott Said. “Today, I am introducing a bill to make sure the criminals who make these false calls and waste law enforcement resources face serious consequences, including years in prison, if anyone is seriously harmed. We must send a message to the cowards behind these calls — this isn’t a joke, it’s a crime.”

Bill Johnson, Executive Director of National Association of Police Organizations, said swatting calls are on the rise across the U.S. and are used to harass and intimidate the victims. “These calls are not only a serious waste of resources, but they also put the offcers and any innocent people at the scene of the fake incident in a dangerous and difficult situation,” Johnson said.

The bill is led by Rep. David Kustoff in the House of Representatives.