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House Judiciary anxious to see criminal justice data transparency project completed

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Rep. Erin Grall

Rep. Erin Grall

The House Judiciary Committee has given the Florida Department of Law Enforcement until April 30 to complete a criminal justice data transparency project that sponsors touted as a national “gold standard” when it passed three years ago.

“It is my expectation, and that of the speaker’s, that this important project be completed no later than the end of session,” Judiciary Chair Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, said at a September 20 committee meeting.

The 2018 legislation, which enjoyed bipartisan support, was sponsored by then Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor. Sprowls has since become House speaker.

HB 1392 called for combining data from the state’s court clerks, law enforcement agencies, public defenders, state attorneys, Department of Corrections, county jails, and others into a searchable data base available to the public.

Reformers said the project, which also includes a uniform arrest affidavit, would make it easier to identify racial bias in the criminal justice system.

FDLE Assistant Commissioner Michelle Pyle told the committee that the project is well underway, with several pilot programs up and running, but it will take time to get more local law enforcement departments connected to the network.

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