After a unanimous vote from the Florida Senate and House of Representatives in April, HB 7051 (otherwise known as the Police Reform Bill), was signed into law Tuesday by Governor DeSantis.
As the bill title states, the law will create better protocols regarding law enforcement applicants, as well as amend others such as the use-of-force protocol.
The Florida House passed HB 7051 unanimously, a police reform bill, designed to be a bipartisan, 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 Florida House is taking up a bipartisan, compromise police reform bill today. The bill would increase the amount of training for law enforcement officers and correctional officers.
The bill, HB 7051, has been a product of House Republican leadership, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, and key voices within law enforcement to try and limit the use of chokeholds only under instances when on-site officers perceive immediate threats of serious bodily injury or death to themselves or other people. It would also require other officers to intervene when they witness other officers using excessive force.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the filibuster racist Thursday, months after she filibustered Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform legislation.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the filibuster is both racist and shouldn’t be permitted in the Senate since it gives the minority veto power, according to Axios. The legislative filibuster, which dates back to the 1800s, is a rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass in the Senate.
“The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create a veto for the minority,” Warren told Axios on Thursday. “In a democracy, it’s majority rules.”
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association (VSA) sent a letter to Governor Ralph Northam on Monday asking him to amend two bills to allow law enforcement agencies to acquire armored military vehicles, which they argue are vital in extreme weather rescues as well as the protection of officers and citizens from gunfire.
Written by John Jones, VSA executive director, the letter asks Northam to amend House Bill 5049 and Senate Bill 5030, both of which were sent to the governor’s desk last week.
The Criminal Justice Services Board (CJSB) will have the responsibility of decertifying officers engaged in misconduct or criminally charged and implementing statewide conduct standards for law enforcement, if the Senate’s omnibus policing and reform legislation is signed into law.
Last Friday, the president of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Delegates both signed the legislation, and on Wednesday the bill was communicated to Governor Ralph Northam for final approval.
A bill that aims to reduce unnecessary and targeted traffic stops by limiting what police officers are lawfully allowed to pull drivers over for recently passed the General Assembly and is now awaiting a decision from the governor.
Nevertheless, law enforcement opposes the legislation on the grounds that it would hurt public safety and lead to more dangers while driving.
Democrats in the state Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced numerous House bills relating to policing and justice reform and COVID-19.
All together the Committee considered 20 bills during the meeting and hastily reported 19 to be considered on the Senate Floor on Friday or sometime next week.
The House Committee on Public Safety conformed multiple bills from the Senate relating to police reform on Monday as the 2020 special session enters its fifth week.
Legislation is conformed when there are two similar bills that have both come out of the House and Senate, and are being considered by committees of the other legislative body.
The Senate passed its omnibus policing reform bill on Thursday, which encompasses other already introduced legislation and covers many hotbed issues relating to law enforcement.
After over an hour of debate and Republicans voicing concerns, the Democratic majority passed the bill by a vote of 21-Y 19-N, right along party lines.
House Democrats blocked discussion of a police reform bill sponsored by Congressman Pete Stauber (R-MN-08). Democratic leaders argued that the more important issue at hand is the “postal crisis.”
Stauber criticized the focus of their session.