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

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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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.