FAMM has had tremendous success over the past two Florida legislative sessions. In 2014 we passed major reforms to Florida’s drug sentencing laws and our 10-20-Life gun sentencing laws. In 2015 we successfully stopped what would have been the most radical expansion of Florida’s mandatory minimum drug laws since 1999. At the moment we are working with lawmakers around the state to craft legislative reforms that would expand on our recent success and continue our efforts to restore fairness and sanity to Florida’s sentencing laws. Below is a quick summary of what’s happened in Florida and what’s coming up in the next legislative session.
Florida’s drug trafficking mandatory minimum laws are among the most severe in the country. Among them, the mandatory minimum for “trafficking” in prescription painkillers is the most severe. FAMM has worked to reform these laws for years. In 2014, our reform effort took the form of SB 360/HB 99, which was sponsored by Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Katie Edwards. We are happy to say that the bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Scott! Click here for a comprehensive overview of the bill and what it means for Florida sentencing laws!
UPDATE! September 2015: FAMM is currently working with legislators on a bill to allow currently incarcerated inmates to apply for resentencing under the reforms passed in 2014. Please check back regularly for updates on this reform. We are also working with legislators on other drug reform bills, including a general “safety valve” for drug trafficking offenses and reforms to Florida’s “Drug-free zone” sentencing laws.
FAMM’s other recent legislative priority was passing a safety valve that would cover aggravated assault cases where self-defense is an issue. This reform took the form of HB 89/SB 448, the “Threatened Use of Force Act,” which was sponsored by Representative Neil Combee and Senator Greg Evers. Again, this bill passed the legislature and became law upon Governor Scott’s signature. For the first time since 1999, judges now have some sentencing discretion in crimes involving firearms. Click here for an overview of the impact of the Threatened Use of Force Act on 10-20-Life.
Unfortunately, unlike previous years we were not able to stop the legislature from passing new mandatory minimums. All in all, however, it was a very good year for sentencing reform in Florida. For a comprehensive review of recent sentencing-related bills in Florida, click here.
UPDATE! September 2015: Representative Neil Combee and Senator Aaron Bean have filed HB 135/SB 228, “The Self-Defense Protection Act,” which restores judicial discretion in all cases in which a defendant had a good faith belief that using a firearm was justified. FAMM supports this bill.
For more on FAMM’s legislative priorities, click here.
For more information about how you can help FAMM’s Florida Project, contact FAMM’s State Policy Director, Greg Newburn, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 352.682.2542.