July 6, 2018

Within Amendment 11 is a Groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reform [Tallahassee Democrat]

This post was last updated on December 8, 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.

On Nov. 6, Florida voters will decide the fate of an amendment that would repeal Article X, Section 9 of the state constitution, known as the savings clause, which bans any changes to a criminal statute from being applied retroactively.

The state Constitution Revision Commission added Amendment11 to the ballot in April 2018. Bundled with two unrelated proposals — alien property ownership and high-speed transportation — the savings clause repeal is extremely important to criminal justice reform efforts in Florida. It would have major fiscal benefits for taxpayers and unprecedented positive effects on Florida’s inmate population.

The savings clause dates back to 1885. It was enacted as a response to a well-known criminal case in which the state could not prosecute a defendant on an assault charge because the Legislature had repealed the assault statute and neglected to lock in prosecutions for offenses committed before the repeal. Florida’s constitutional measure is highly uncommon, as most states with such a provision have it as a statute. In fact, only Oklahoma and New Mexico have similar provisions in their constitutions. Among the three states, Florida’s is the strictest.

Read more on tallahassee.com

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