Democratic Senator Lori Berman | puts forward a series of bills she calls “Quality of Life Measures” to address issues ranging from solar energy to gun regulation to hate crime laws and more.
This package contains a total of 10 bills, several of which Berman has tried to shuffle through the Senate.
A measure (SB 186) would broaden the areas where law enforcement agencies can seize weapons and ammunition from individuals convicted of domestic abuse. Berman cited concern about Incidents of domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic when more people have been stuck at homeas a reason to bring back a version of the measure that she also submitted last year.
On the gun front, Berman is reintroducing legislation (SB 182) For a third year in a rowThis would allow family members to request a court to confiscate weapons from those with violent warning signs.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (SB 7026), passed into law in 2018enables law enforcement officers or anyone who has deemed someone mentally disturbed to ask a court to remove weapons from that person’s control. Currently, this means that family members must first apply for one of these groups before a court can take action.
Berman’s move would extend this ability to certain family members. “This legislation expands petitioners’ categories to include mother, father, grandparent, step-parent, sibling, spouse or guardian,” Berman said
Another bill (SB 198) would allow schools to purchase an on-site solar power source directly from a solar company. Berman also introduced a similar measure before the 2020 meeting.
The legislation allows school districts to combine electricity meters at participating schools for network metering. With net metering, solar energy users can sell back unused solar energy to energy companies in order to receive a credit to reduce their energy costs. Berman’s bill would allow districts to pool counters across the country for this purpose.
Other actions Berman supported include a bill Create an alert system for missing developmentally disabled adults (SB 184,) a move to extend Florida hate crime law to physical disability, gender, and gender identity (SB 194,) and laws that require courthouses to provide space for women to breastfeed (SB 196.)
“When the Floridians elected us to their legislature, they did so in the hope that we would improve their quality of life at a time of great uncertainty,” said Berman.
“The pandemic has cost far too many lives and at the same time has exacerbated socio-economic differences between ethnic minorities. The standstill of the federal government and a disinterested state parliament prevented the urgently needed economic relief. Domestic violence incidents have increased; and continues to call for restorative racial justice. We need our state government to play a more active role. I intend to enter the 2021 legislative session with a legislative package to improve the quality of life of those who suffer and are often overlooked – for every Floridian. “
Berman secured re-election in Senate District 31 last November.
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