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House Criminal Justice Subcommittee

House advances bills ‘cracking the whip’ on domestic abuse, child offenders, recovery centers, terrorism

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A litany of bills Tuesday show legislators intend to crack the whip on several social, criminal and commercial problems affecting the state. Each bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, covering issues as wide ranging as child predators, domestic violence, addiction recovery homes, skimming devices, the department of corrections, probation, terrorism — and protection of marine turtles. All the measures facing the committee were built around a single theme, improving language in bills already on the books or simply to…

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House bill could transfer millions from FHP to Pinellas, Polk sheriffs

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The Florida Highway Patrol came out against a proposed committee bill Wednesday that would hand over agency funding and jurisdiction in two counties. CRJ 17-01 from the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee could give the Pinellas County and Polk County sheriff’s offices a combined $6 million to handle crashes on state roads within county borders. FHP Lt. Col. Mike Thomas said the move “would be a stark change to our business model” and that FHP hasn’t “had the chance to really evaluate any of the fiscal impacts…

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Unanimous jury bill unanimously OK’d in House

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A bill requiring a unanimous jury recommendation for a death sentence was unanimously cleared by a House panel Wednesday. The Criminal Justice Subcommittee OK’d the bill (HB 527) by Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican. But the approval was after several public comments that the legislation didn’t go far enough to truly overhaul the state’s capital punishment system. In 2016, the Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring at least 10 of the 12 members of a jury…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. Off and on: Maggie Mickler is no longer press secretary for the Senate Majority Leader’s office. She has become director of communications at the Department of Management Services. On: LaQuisha Persak has become the new press secretary for the Senate Majority Leader’s office. Off: Lindy Smith is no longer legislative assistant for Cape Canaveral Republican state Sen. Thad Altman. Off and on: Drew…

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Stand Your Ground bill dies in Judiciary panel

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Capping two days of ‘will he or won’t he’ guessing, House Judiciary Chairman Charles McBurney on Thursday did not call up a bill that would change the state’s Stand Your Ground law. Thursday’s meeting was the committee’s last get-together for the 2016 Legislative Session. When asked why, the Jacksonville Republican told reporters, “I had concerns from the members, I had concerns from certain groups, I had concerns from victims and victim groups, so we kind of put the pause button on the…

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House panel votes down revision to ‘stand your ground’ law

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A push to change Florida’s contentious “stand your ground” law may be dead for the coming year. A Florida House panel on Tuesday narrowly voted against a measure sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley that would change the law. The Ocala Republican wanted to require that prosecutors prove a defendant was not acting in self-defense when that person is asking for immunity. Baxley said the change was needed to respond to recent court rulings. The National Rifle Association backed the bill…

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Matt Gaetz ad boasts role in “fixing” penalties for sex offenders

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Shalimar Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz released a new ad Tuesday that trumpets his role in passing tougher penalties on sex offenders in 2014. “I’m Matt Gaetz, and I’ll always fight to protect our kids,” the Senate District 1 candidate said in the video. “The system was broken, so I led the fight to fix it,” The 2014 sex offender bill package Gaetz is referring to – SB522, SB524, SB526 and SB528 – passed both chambers with unanimous support near the…

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