The Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously passed a measure (SPB 7080) that would require law-enforcement agencies to establish policies and procedures addressing the proper use, maintenance and storage of body cameras and the data they record.
Agencies would have to establish policies and train officers before allowing them to wear the devices. Currently, Florida law does not require police agencies to have policies governing the use of such technology.
According to the Police Benevolent Association, 13 Florida police departments use the cameras, none of them in Palm Beach County. But West Palm Beach is among the nine other departments that has put a pilot program in place to test their use.
In December, President Obama proposed a three-year, $263 million legislative package to increase the use of body-worn cameras and expand such training for law-enforcement agencies. Part of the federal initiative would provide a 50 percent match to states and local entities that purchase body-worn cameras and requisite storage.
Also Tuesday …
Powdered alcohol: Even if a bill that would ban the sale of powdered alcohol in Florida becomes law, it might not be long before Floridians are able to enjoy a sip.The House Appropriations Committee added a “sunset” provision to the bill (HB 1247), so that the ban would expire on July 1, 2016. The sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, said his language would allow Florida to consider what happens in other states and “decide whether we want to have a permanent ban or whether we want to regulate it later.” The bill passed the House Appropriations Committee on a 25-1 vote. Powdered alcohol, sold under the trademark Palcohol, received federal approval last month. Five states have banned it and four others are considering bans.
Service dogs: The Senate version of a bill that would punish service-dog posers while also protecting the disabled and their service animals from being harassed passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee with an unanimous vote on Tuesday. The bill (SB 414), which now heads to the Senate Community Affairs Committee for its final committee hearing, limits service animals to dogs and miniature horses in Florida and would make it a misdemeanor to pass off a pet as a service animal or harass disabled people about their need for a service animal. The bill’s companion in the House (HB 71) received a unanimous vote on the House floor on March 27.
Blunt wraps: The Senate Finance and Tax Committee unanimously approved a bill (SPB 7074) that deals with tobacco-tax issues, including adding a type of rolling paper known as “blunt wraps” to the legal definition of tobacco products. The vote comes after an administrative law judge ruled in February that a distributor, Brandy’s Products Inc., didn’t have to pay tobacco taxes on the wraps because they didn’t fall under the law’s definition of tobacco products. The bill makes it clear that blunt wraps, which can be used as cigar wrappers, can be taxed.
Original article here.