Tyre Sampson Act passes through Florida senate, heads to Governor DeSantis next

The Florida Legislature passed the "Tyre Sampson Act" Wednesday, more than a year after the St. Louis teenager tragically fell to his death while on the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park.

The bill, which was proposed by Sen. Geraldine Thompson last year, adds safety standards and measures for amusement rides, particularly new rides, in Florida.

Under the act, permanent amusement rides operated for the first time in Florida to have a specified date to have a ride commissioning and certification report on file with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services within a specific timeframe. 

It also requires additional testing and verifications, updates requirements for when ride operators have to report accidents or injuries, and sets training and retraining standards for employees. It also allows the Department of Agriculture to shut down an amusement ride and take "appropriate administrative actions under certain circumstances."

The bill has been one of the primary demands from Sampson's parents, Nekia Dodd and Yarnell Sampson, following their son's death. The teen's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April 2022 and reached a settlement in March 2023. 

Around the year anniversary of Sampson's death, FreeFall was dismantled and torn down. Slingshot Group, which leases that spot at ICON Park, has not yet announced any future plans for that particular area. 

Sampson, a 14-year-old St. Louis, Missouri native, was visiting Orlando, Florida, with another family for Spring Break on March 24, 2022, when he and his friends went to the amusement park. 

The teenager got on the attraction that was billed as the world's tallest drop tower ride (430-feet tall) and fell out of the ride's restraints as it was coming back down, according to an investigative report.

The ride – which was relatively new, having opened in December 2021 – has been closed since his death.