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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – As the state tries to reduce dangerous interactions between bears and humans, lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would change the penalties for feeding wildlife.

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The Senate on Friday unanimously approved the bill (HB 7021), which passed the House earlier and now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, and Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, comes as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission prepares to give formal approval to a black bear hunt this fall — the first such hunt in two decades.

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The hunt stems from interactions between bears and humans in some parts of the state, with wildlife officials saying a major cause of the problem is residents leaving out garbage that attracts bears.

The bill, in part, would increase penalties for people charged a fourth time with feeding bears and alligators not in captivity. The charge would be a third-degree felony.

Currently, a fourth offense of illegally feeding wildlife within a 10-year period is a first-degree misdemeanor.

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“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”