The Florida Legislative Black Caucus is pushing a slew of bills for the 2021 legislative session that members say “promote fair and just” police reforms. 

Among the proposals are bills that would mandate body cameras be worn by officers in every Florida law enforcement agency; set a minimum standard for police training in de-escalation tactics; and require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to keep a database on excessive use of force by officers.

Whether the measures will get hearings in the Republican-controlled Legislature remains in question, as Democrats debuted the sweeping reform package with the hashtag #HearTheBills.

“If you are honest about wanting to improve policing in this state, about supporting good law enforcement officers and making our communities safer, you’ll give these ideas a chance to be heard,” House Minority Co-leader,Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale, said at a news conference Tuesday.

The bills would create “a floor for training” at law enforcement agencies, including setting standards for instructing officers on excessive use of force and “vascular neck restraints.” One proposal limits offenses for which a “no-knock warrant” can be issued and prohibits law-enforcement agencies from buying surplus military equipment.

Another looks to overhaul a “police bill of rights” in state law to try to weed out what a Democratic summary of the bills called “loopholes that make it nearly impossible to hold bad officers accountable.”

House Democratic leaders, however, are stressing that the proposals would not seek to defund the police. Calls by some groups to defund the police became a hot-button political issue during last year’s election campaigns, with Republicans using the issue to criticize Democrats.

Some members of the Black caucus, like Rep. Dotie Joseph, D-North Miami, sounded hopeful Tuesday that achieving common ground with Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis on policing measures is possible.

“While we have a marked difference of opinion with the governor on a number of issues, I think a lot of the policies that we’ve identified throughout the entire caucus, some of those are some that we may be able to reach some kind of dialogue with the governor,” Joseph said.

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus is pushing a slew of bills for the 2021 legislative session that members say “promote fair and just” police reforms. 

Among the proposals are bills that would mandate body cameras be worn by officers in every Florida law enforcement agency; set a minimum standard for police training in de-escalation tactics; and require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to keep a database on excessive use of force by officers.

Whether the measures will get hearings in the Republican-controlled Legislature remains in question, as Democrats debuted the sweeping reform package with the hashtag #HearTheBills.

“If you are honest about wanting to improve policing in this state, about supporting good law enforcement officers and making our communities safer, you’ll give these ideas a chance to be heard,” House Minority Co-leader,Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale, said at a news conference Tuesday.

The bills would create “a floor for training” at law enforcement agencies, including setting standards for instructing officers on excessive use of force and “vascular neck restraints.” One proposal limits offenses for which a “no-knock warrant” can be issued and prohibits law-enforcement agencies from buying surplus military equipment.

Another looks to overhaul a “police bill of rights” in state law to try to weed out what a Democratic summary of the bills called “loopholes that make it nearly impossible to hold bad officers accountable.”

House Democratic leaders, however, are stressing that the proposals would not seek to defund the police. Calls by some groups to defund the police became a hot-button political issue during last year’s election campaigns, with Republicans using the issue to criticize Democrats.

Some members of the Black caucus, like Rep. Dotie Joseph, D-North Miami, sounded hopeful Tuesday that achieving common ground with Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis on policing measures is possible.

“While we have a marked difference of opinion with the governor on a number of issues, I think a lot of the policies that we’ve identified throughout the entire caucus, some of those are some that we may be able to reach some kind of dialogue with the governor,” Joseph said.