Anti-Speed Trap Bill Still Moving In Florida Senate, Could Undergo Some Changes

Feb 18, 2015

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A bill making it illegal for local law enforcement agencies to require officers to issue certain number of tickets may have some changes in store, after it passed another Senate panel Wednesday.

Sen. Rob Bradley’s (R-Fleming Island) bill wants to prevent what occurred at the small North Florida town he represents called Waldo. It’s seen as one of the nation’s worst speed traps and eventually had to disband its police force over the issue.

“And, one of the things that when it was investigated that was discovered and that led to the first part of the bill was that the local state attorney said, ‘look, it’s illegal for state law enforcement to have quotas, but it’s very unclear as to whether it’s applicable to local law enforcement,’” said Bradley. “So, this clarifies that point.”

The measure also requires cities or counties to publicly disclose if revenues they receive from traffic citations exceed 50-percent of the cost to operate the local law enforcement agency. In the case of Waldo, the revenue from the traffic citations made up one-third of the city’s revenues. And, while he says he understands the need for that part of the bill, Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) questioned Bradley over how he arrived at that particular percentage.

“Waldo was kind of the reason for you bringing this bill forward, but I’m curious why 50 percent,” asked Clemens. “It would seem to me that it would be good for the community to know if their local law enforcement agency was funded at 30 percent or 25 percent?”

Bradley said he’d look into lowering the percentage, and the measure passed the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously. Meanwhile, its House companion has not yet had a hearing.

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