Florida House Passes Bipartisan Police Reform Bill

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The Florida House unanimously passed HB 7051, a bipartisan police reform bill designed to be a compromise piece of legislation satisfying the requests of conservatives as well as social justice advocates.

One of the main staples of the bill is amending current use-of-force protocol for law enforcement officers. Each police force and law enforcement agency in the state will now be required to have a use-of-force standard. This would, in essence, create a statewide minimum standard, including methods to de-escalate situations. Chokeholds are banned unless the officer “perceives an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death.” If another officer is witnessing excessive use of force, they will now be required to intervene.

The bill will also streamline communication across law enforcement agencies by requiring applying officers to disclose if they have been under investigation or are currently under investigation related to use-of-force.

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-102) said the bill is part of the good-faith effort to restore trust in law enforcement.

“About 90 percent of Americans want at least the same or more policing in their community,” said Sprowls. “House Bill 7051 continues to build faith and trust in law enforcement. With these measures, we can begin our work to recognize good police practices and affirm confidence in policing. Our first priority as lawmakers should be to keep Floridians and their communities safe.”

Democratic lawmakers also took to the House floor to express their support for the bill.

“This bill is a testament of when we work together what we can really accomplish,” said Rep. Marie Paule Woodson (D-101).

Some Democrats said the bill is a good start, but noted the legislation doesn’t go far enough regarding police practices.

The Florida Senate is expected to take up the bill before the end of the legislative session this week and send it to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not signaled his approval or disapproval of the bill.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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