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Legislative Watch: FRID in support of the following bills: SB1466/HB1109 and SB588/HB211

08 Feb 2018 10:36 AM | Rachel Goette (Administrator)

SB1466/HB1109 - "State Emergency Communications and Warning System"

The Board is continuing to monitor this bill, which would require the Division of Emergency Management to include qualified interpreters in certain emergency broadcasts. Also, we are scheduled to meet with the bill sponsors on Friday, February 9 to offer our support and guidance, and to discuss the specific language in the bill. 

Read the bills here: SB1466 and HB1109

SB588/HB211 - "Crimes Evidencing Prejudice"

These bills in the Florida legislature would update our existing hate crimes law. The changes would be twofold: 

1) adding "gender identity" as an additional protection, and 2) updating the definition of "disability". 

The Board of FRID has been in contact with the office of the Senate sponsor, the Criminal Justice Committee staffer who did the bill analysis, and a representative from the Anti-Defamation League, who brought this bill to the sponsors. From what we have been able to gather from these conversations, the current definition of disability in Florida statute is antiquated and not inclusive. The law as written uses the "incapacitated" definition of disability, which only covers persons who are severely debilitated, and would not include disabilities like being Deaf or blind. SB588 and HB211 would be changing the language of the definition of disability to be more in line with federal statute, including the ADA. 

The changes would expand the definition of disability to include Deaf people, as well as other persons with disabilities. This means that if a Deaf or hard of hearing person were to be targeted because they are Deaf or hard of hearing, then the crime could be prosecuted as a hate crime. Also, Florida hate crimes statute includes both crimes against persons and crimes against property. 

If this bill were to pass, should a deaf-owned business be targeted, then they could use hate crimes law in their prosecution, as well. 

Read the bills here: SB588  and HB211

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