Tachana Joseph-Marc
February 16, 2021

Court fines help fund Florida government, but harm Floridians | Guestview [Pensacola News Journal]

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Tachana Joseph-Marc writes:
"If you have ever received a citation for a driving violation or filed some paperwork at your local court office, you have contributed to Florida’s collection of court fines and fees.

In 2018, the state collected at least $755 million through criminal and traffic fines and fees, which financed state, county, and municipal governments. While many people may pay the amount due and move on, these fines and fees, and the role they play in financing our courts, adversely impact many Floridians, especially those with low income.


Tachana Joseph-Marc is a policy analyst at Florida Policy Institute, a non-profit think tank focused on statewide issues [emphasis added]."


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