February 1, 2017
Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) and Rep. Larry Ahern (R-Seminole) are sponsoring bills SB 196 and HB 205 to ensure that all children in Florida receive equal access to civil citations, rather than arrest, when committing first-time, nonviolent misdemeanors.
Juvenile civil citations serve as an alternative to criminal arrest and provide a second chance to youth who make mistakes while still holding them accountable for their actions. Such diversion programs also benefit society by reducing crime, saving the state money and helping build a productive citizenry.
On January 23, during a week of committee meetings prior to the start of the 2017 legislative session, SB 196 was passed (5-2) by its first committee of reference. Ingrid Delgado, FCCB Associate for Social Concerns/Respect Life, showed support for the proposal by joining Senators Flores, Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) and Representative Ahern, as well as clergy from several faiths, in a press conference about the bills on January 24.