Florida SB 1322 stopped in committee

Edit 2/29/12: After some reading, we are now fairly sure the “temporarily postponed” status is a euphemism for “did not pass.” SB 1322 is stuck in committee. The legislative session ends on March 9, so there is very little time left to salvage the effort. SB 1322 needs to be pulled from the committee and voted on by the full Senate. Please write your Senator today and ask him or her to help get SB 1322 out of the committee and onto the floor: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/representatives/myrepresentative.aspx
HB 997 also needs a full House vote by March 9. Please use the link above to also contact your House Representatives as well, and push them to vote on HB 997.
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Florida Senate Bill 1322, which would repeal the breed ban in Miami-Dade County, may not have passed subcommittee today. According to its status, it was “temporarily postponed” in the Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations.

“Temporarily postponed” suggests it will be taken up again. However, I listened to today’s committee podcast, which tells a very different story.

Committee member Senator Christopher Smith at first did not appear to understand what the bill did: “So what is it, you’re exempting an ordinance that pre- what does this do, period? … This bill, now Miami-Dade wouldn’t be able to ban pit bulls?”

Despite being unclear about the bill, during the brief committee debate, Smith gave an impassioned speech against SB 1322: “In many areas in my district, there are kids getting mauled by pit bulls and ‘rockweilers.’ You can’t walk down the street in my neighborhood without seeing guys walking around with big Rottweilers and pit bulls on ropes. . . . Please allow local governments to deal with local issues and not take away everybody’s rights. If you want dogs other places and if you have hunting dogs or Greyhounds or whatever you got other places, that might be great for those places, but allow local communities to deal with public safety concerns in their local communities and vote down this very, very bad bill.” (Apparently Senator Smith is unaware that state law already prohibits all other municipalities from passing BSL.)

A vote followed:
Senator Bennett: No
Senator Evers: Yes
Senator Smith: No
Senator Storms: No
Senator Thrasher: No
Senator Joyner: No
Chair Bogdanoff: Yes
As a result, the bill has failed to pass the subcommittee.

I do not know at this time where this leaves SB 1322 or what its next step will be, but it does not look good.

In the event that SB 1322 is indeed truly “temporarily postponed” (not just a euphemism for “killed”), and is taken up by the subcommittee again, please contact the following members and explain to them why it is important to pass SB 1322: bogdanoff.ellyn.web@flsenate.gov; joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov; bennett.mike.web@flsenate.gov; evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov; smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov; storms.ronda.web@flsenate.gov; thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov

Status page for SB 1322: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/1322

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