Florida Policing Changes Stalled As Legislative Session Winds Down – CBS Miami
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami / NSF) – After the Florida Legislative Black Caucus launched a series of police reform bills in February, many of the measures on the committees were not heard as the 60-day legislative term expired.
The House and Senate committees are not expected to meet again early next week. After that, unheard legislation would have to wait until next year. This year’s meeting is expected to end on April 30th.
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Police reform is a national focus as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin stands on trial in May after George Floyd was shot dead by police in a Minneapolis suburb in May.
“My heart was broken,” said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat who is a member of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, on Monday. “I can tell you that this is the process that black Americans go through every time an unarmed black person is shot.”
Evan Jenne, co-chair of the Dania Beach minority House of Representatives, said that in the Republican-controlled House and Senate it had not been very easy to use this process to achieve common sense police reform.
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Driskell was hoping for bills backed by the caucus, although Republican leaders did not plan to hold committee hearings on the measures.
“We are continuing to work on these issues and will continue to do so until the legislative period runs out. We still have a chance to hear about this in the main committees that are still meeting, ”said Driskell.
Proposals include bills (SB 452 and HB 569) requiring officers of every Florida law enforcement agency to wear body cameras. Another proposal (SB 942 and HB 647) would set a minimum standard for police training in de-escalation tactics.
“This is not an indictment against the entire law enforcement community, but it does say that there is opportunity and room for growth here. Opportunity for greater transparency and accountability in policing, ”said Driskell.
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