The Legislature on Friday sent Gov. Ron DeSantis a bill making a number of criminal justice reforms.
Notably, HB 7125 would raise the felony-theft threshold, which hasn’t been changed in decades, from $300 to $750.
Among the other changes: a reduction in occupational licensing barriers for felons, slashing the number of offenses that result in a driver’s license suspension, expanding eligibility of pretrial diversions programs and drug-treatment courts and requiring the Department of Corrections to provide inmates with a directory of re-entry services.
The changes were welcomed by many as a step in the right direction, and DeSantis has signaled he supports the reforms.
Among those celebrating the bill’s passage is advocacy group Americans for Prosperty Florida, which issued a statement shortly after the vote.
“Florida lawmakers took solid steps to improve our justice system. This is a first step toward helping rebuild people’s lives, making communities safer, and are a sincere approach toward the stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” said AFP-FL state director Skylar Zander.
“Lawmakers should seize on this momentum and prepare to come back in 2020 with additional reforms. We applaud Representative Paul Renner and Senator Jeff Brandes for leading the charge, thank our coalition partners and activists who worked tirelessly, and we hope Gov. DeSantis signs this bill as soon as possible.”
AFP-FL added that lawmaker votes on HB 7125 will be included in its annual post-Legislative Session scorecard.