Manager of State Initiatives
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Greg Glod | March 18, 2016
Florida is a signature away from passing one of the most comprehensive civil asset forfeiture bills in the country. SB 1044, which recently passed unanimously out of the Florida House and Senate, will strengthen property rights for Floridians as well as provide much needed reporting of the extent of asset forfeiture in the Sunshine State.
For those unaware, civil asset forfeiture is the process by which law enforcement may seize and forfeit your property if they suspect it has been involved in criminal activity or the fruits of illegal activity. In most states, there is no requirement that an individual be arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime for law enforcement to forfeit your property. Additionally, most states have very low burdens for law enforcement to prove (more likely than not) that the property is involved in certain criminal activity. The practice has come under fire due to countless examples of abuse. Specifically, the bill:
Right on Crime Signatory Sal Nuzzo, Vice President of Policy at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Florida issued the following statement on SB 1044’s passage:
“Civil asset forfeiture reform has been a top priority for The James Madison Institute and we are truly pleased that the Florida Legislature has seen to pass a very good policy that balances the need for reform while addressing the concerns of the law enforcement community,” said Nuzzo. “Requiring an arrest for a property seizure just makes common sense. We are also especially thrilled with the provisions in the new policy that direct local law enforcement officials to collect more substantive data on seizures, which will allow organizations such as JMI to conduct more analysis in future years, and be able to help determine if additional reforms are needed. We commend both the House and Senate leadership for their roles in making this reform a reality.”
We echo the sentiments of Mr. Nuzzo and urge Governor Scott to sign this important piece of legislation that each elected Delegate and Senator approved.