FAC News Clips – March 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Times
Miami-Dade police wear body cameras. So do officers in Jacksonville and Orlando. Broward, Orange and Duval sheriff’s deputies, too. And Palm Beach is trying to find money for them. But in the other major Florida population center, Tampa Bay, only Pasco County and Temple Terrace have embraced the devices, which surged to the forefront in 2014 during the debate about police behavior after police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore made national headlines.
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith held a forum Tuesday morning to get the public's input on the idea of wearing body cameras and is now moving forward with getting them on the uniforms of his deputies. Sheriff Smith says having the cameras will protect sheriff's office employees and the public. He says the new tool will help solve crime in a timely manner and could also prevent many incidents from happening in the first place.
ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Residents in Orange County can now text 911 for help if calling is not an option. Officials say that texting is best for those who are hearing impaired or have a speech impediment, but if you are in fear for your life and you think that a voice call will bring you harm, then they encourage you to text. Texting is not encouraged outside of these limits because calling will always be quickest. In the first 30 seconds of a voice call, all the needed information can be gathered. But with texting, it takes often two to three minutes.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
In Florida, we got action Monday on the opioid epidemic. In New Hampshire, we got ranting on the opioid epidemic. Guess which will help more? The action came from the Florida Legislature. Gov. Rick Scott toured the state to sign House Bill 21. It restricts physicians from prescribing more than a three-day supply of painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone except for the terminally ill, cancer patients, people in hospice care and victims of recent trauma.
Manatee County, the epicenter of the opioid epidemic in Florida, will join the growing number of local governments in Florida suing drug makers to recover some of what the county has paid for everything from the drugs that reverse the effects of an overdose to autopsies. On Tuesday, commissioners unanimously voted to direct County Attorney Mickey Palmer to choose an outside law firm and file a lawsuit in either circuit or federal court against one or several opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham announced Tuesday that if she’s elected Governor she would support local governments such as Weston and Coral Gables that seek to defy the state’s 2011 law forbidding local gun ordinances. Such a position could put Graham at odds with the Florida Legislature and also potentially with the Attorney General over who takes which sides, should legal battles begin over local gun ordinances. In 2011, Florida passed a law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott, that preempts all local gun laws to the state, and sets stiff penalties, including personal fines, legal liability and threats of removals from office for local officials who seek, retain or vote for local gun laws.
School Resource Officers
Tampa Bay Times
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri met with the Pinellas County Commission today to discuss how to come up with an extra $23.6 million to fulfill a state mandate to place a school resource officer in every school by July 1. Gualtieri sent a letter to Monday to Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard advising him of the "dire need to resolve this funding issue as soon as possible." A copy was also sent to the Pinellas County school district. According to the letter, there are about 50 school resource officers assigned to middle and high schools and none are assigned to elementary school. Gualtieri estimates that it would cost $20.1 million annually for 156 new SROs.
Florida Key Noter
Owners of unapproved vacation rental units in the Florida Keys got no break from state lawmakers in the recently completed session of the Florida Legislature. They had hoped for looser regulations but those didn’t come. Bills seeking to overturn most of the regulations on vacation rentals — homes or condominiums in residential areas rented out for short periods — stalled in the final days of the 2018 legislative session. That means Monroe County’s tax collector and code-compliance offers will continue seeking out vacation rental properties that have not been properly permitted or not paying required sales taxes.