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Bipartisan police reform bill sails through Florida Senate 40-0, heads to governor

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State Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee, described House Bill 7051 as "a first step." Image: Florida Channel

The Florida Legislature has passed a bipartisan police reform bill requiring use-of-force standards and training, new rules for choke holds, independent investigations and the reporting of serious incidents.

The bill also prohibits the arrest of children under 7, unless it’s for a forcible felony. It heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.

House Bill 7051 sailed through the Senate Thursday on a unanimous vote.

Ocoee Sen. Randolph Bracy and other members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus had been working toward it after the murder of George Floyd and a summer of protests.

Several of them say this bill does not go far enough. For example, it has no enforcement provisions.

They hope to return to the issue next year. And Bracy describes it as “a first step.”

“I would appreciate the Republican members of this caucus — of this chamber — to continue to work with us in the next session and in the future to continue to build upon this legislation,” he said from the Senate floor.

The bill includes a duty for officers to intervene to end excessive force and provide aid. And they would get training in how to handle people with mental illness or substance abuse.


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.