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Florida Police Group Backs Proposed "Blue Lives Matter Act"

Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons
Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Source: WikiMedia Commons

Making it an enhanced-penalty hate crime to attack law enforcement officers and firefighters in Florida is a priority for the Florida Police Benevolent Association in 2017.

Republican State Representatives Dennis Baxley of Ocala and Neil Combee of Polk City, who are both running for re-election, call their proposed measure the Blue Lives Matter Act. It’s a spin on the name of the Black Lives Matter movement.

FPBA Executive Director Matt Puckett says he sees the importance of that movement, and he hopes the proposed bill’s name doesn’t weigh down the discussion of the issue.

“I would hope that we could talk that into a different name, if that becomes a problem,” said Puckett. “But, I understand and appreciate the sentiment. So, we’ll see – I think titles of bills can be changed without losing the meaning behind what the bill is trying to accomplish.”

A similar bill filed in the Florida Legislature last year didn’t make it to a vote.

The Florida Sheriffs Association says it won’t comment on the potential legislation until an actual bill is filed.