FAMM Hails Introduction of Drug Mandatory Minimum Reform Bill in Florida

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Post Date: October 30, 2017

Contact: Rabiah Burks

FAMM Hails Introduction of Drug Mandatory Minimum Reform Bill in Florida

Tallahassee, Fla. – FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) State Policy Director Greg Newburn today cheered the introduction of a reform to Florida’s mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws. Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) filed legislation to create a judicial safety valve for low-level drug crimes.

“One-size-fits-all punishments do not reduce crime, and every dollar spent locking up low-level drug offenders is a dollar that can’t be used to punish dangerous criminals,” said Newburn. “We thank Sen. Brandes and Rep. Diamond for supporting this commonsense solution to a problem long overdue for reform.

The proposal introduced today would authorize judges to depart below the otherwise applicable mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases under certain circumstances. Known as a “judicial safety valve,” the House version of the bill (HB 481) differs from the Senate companion bill (SB 694) in its details, but both versions would restore some discretion in drug sentencing. FAMM, which has advocated on behalf of a sentencing safety valve in Florida for years, announced the bill’s introduction with a coalition of politically conservative allies, including Right on Crime, the Reason Foundation, the James Madison Institute, and Florida TaxWatch.

“Voters and policymakers from across the political spectrum understand we need to set priorities for funding anti-crime policies, just like we do in education, health care, and all other areas of the budget. Reserving longer prison sentences for more serious offenders is just common sense,” Newburn concluded.

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