Florida Sheriffs name Jack Latvala their “Legislator of the Year”

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The Florida Sheriffs Association announced state Sen. Jack Latvala as its 2014 Legislator of the Year, with an award presented last week during the FSA Summer Conference in St Johns County.

Every year, FSA acknowledges state legislators making significant contributions to criminal justice and public safety through leadership. During the 2014 session, Latvala led a number of key proposals in what the FSA called a “successful session.”

“The Florida Sheriffs Association is honored to recognize Senator Latvala for his tireless work to support Florida’s sheriffs and all law enforcement across the state,” said FSA President Grady Judd, who serves as Polk County Sheriff. “FSA applauds our partners in the Capitol for their continued support in protecting all Floridians.”

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri added that Latvala “demonstrates an unconditional commitment to the sheriffs, which has made him an effective advocate.”

The FSA noted the Clearwater Republican’s support of the Florida Retirement System and law enforcement, as well as his open door policy, making him an “ideal advocate for nearly every issue important to sheriffs.”

FSA’s legislative team actively works with state lawmakers on bills that promote safety for Floridians and Florida’s law-enforcement officers. The team also works to defeat bills the FSA believes are not good for the state.

“As a legislator, I believe it is important to work with law enforcement officials not only in my district, but throughout the State of Florida to keep our citizens safe,” Latvala said. “In Pinellas County, I have had the pleasure of working closely with Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a number of Police Chiefs and other elected officials on legislation that remains in the best interest of our community and the state, and will continue to do so.”

Among the 2014 FSA legislative highlights were the E911 Prepaid Wireless Fees, allowing for the collection of E911 prepaid wireless fees starting in January 2015, and the passing of comprehensive sexual offender and predator legislation.

A few “bills of concern” to the FSA that failed last session include efforts to require a court order to obtain information from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; a proposal allowing the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit during mandatory evacuation; and bills allowing resort style casinos.

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.