After a criminal justice bill sponsored by Senate budget chief Rob Bradley was zeroed out Wednesday in early negotiations, he said he will kill it to help fund plans to harden schools and fund for mental health services.
“I have killed my own bill,” Bradley told Florida Politics.
The move to abandon the bill took Sen. Jeff Brandes, the co-sponsor of the measure and the Senate’s top criminal justice budget-writer, by surprise.
“I one-hundred percent did not know this was going to happen,” Brandes said.
The sweeping criminal justice reform (SB 484) would have cost taxpayers $10 million to fund and would have authorized counties to create supervised bond release programs and allowed qualifying inmates to be moved from prison to county jails in cases when they are terminally ill and given less than a year to live.
The bail bond industry last week lobbied hard against the measure.
“In light of the cuts that we are taking across all areas of the budget to fund school safety initiatives, I decided to address that issue next session,” Bradley added.
His measure had cleared two Senate committees and was in its last stop, Senate Appropriations, a panel chaired by Bradley. Appropriations is scheduled to meet Friday, but that bill will not be put on the notice anymore.
Brandes, the Senate’s top criminal justice budget-writer, has introduced several criminal justice reforms this year that focus on rehabilitating inmates. The measure that Bradley has killed would have helped divert more people out of the criminal justice system.
An estimate 4,200 inmates would have been eligible to be sentenced to a county jail under this bill, according to data from the Department of Corrections.
“I think that it is an idea that is still one that has value and frankly should be considered,” Brandes said. “I was surprised tonight, but there might be an opportunity to discuss it in the future.”