Minimum sentences bill advances

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A Senate plan (SB 1334) to do away with minimum mandatory sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, but now heads to a committee chaired by one of its opponents, reports the News Service of Florida. Sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, the measure would do away with a minimum sentences set up decades ago that has led to dramatic increase in the number of drug offenders now in custody. In 2009, more than one in four Florida prison inmates was serving a drug charge. The measure is backed by a coalition of groups that includes Florida TaxWatch, which estimates the change would save the state millions annually in lower costs. The bill also has the support of the state newest Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Buss. The bill now travels to Senate Rules Committee. Its chairman, Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, voted against the bill Monday.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.