Tears and testimony at the Florida Capitol as hundreds of crime victims call for change

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It was standing room only Tuesday in the Capitol rotunda as hundreds of crime victims from across Florida packed the floor.

The crowd made their voice heard, urging lawmakers to approve several pieces of legislation that would reform Florida’s crime laws.

“The bills that we’re looking to help change, we believe survivors need to be at the front of conversation,” Calvin Brown with St. Pete Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice said.

Advocates are targeting three pieces of legislation, HB 233/SB 490, SB 376/HB 593 and HB 1263/SB1478.

The one showing the most promise is called Curtis’ Law, which provides families of homicide victims with more tools to gather information from law enforcement.

“I think Curtis’ Law is the first step in a 10-step program,” said a family member of crime victim Elliott Saunders.

There’s also a bill that ensures sealed criminal records at the state level remain sealed at the county level, including low level offenses that could show up on a background check. 

Lastly, a bill improving the state’s probation system to prioritize prisoner rehab.

Some of these bills are getting bipartisan support making them more likely to make it to the governor’s desk.

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