Claims bill for Rachel Hoffman approved

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The Senate on Friday gave final approval to a bill that calls for the city of Tallahassee to pay $2.4 million to the parents of a police confidential informant who was murdered in 2008.

Senators voted 33-3 to approve the claims bill (HB 7131) for the parents of Rachel Hoffman. The House passed the bill Thursday, which means it is now ready to go to Gov. Rick Scott.

Hoffman, a 23-year-old graduate of Florida State University, became a confidential informant after police found drugs in her apartment. She was murdered during a drug sting gone bad, leading to allegations that Tallahassee police acted negligently. Hoffman’s parents, Irv Hoffman and Marjorie Weiss, filed a lawsuit against the city that was settled on the eve of trial for $2.6 million.

Under the state’s sovereign immunity laws, Tallahassee paid $200,000, but the family needed passage of a claims bill to be able to collect the rest. Lance Block, a lawyer for Hoffman’s parents, said the final issue resolved this week was the amount of fees that he and lobbyists would receive. He said they agreed to go along with limits that the House added to the bill.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.