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‘A Neighbor’s Choice’: Congressman-Elect Byron Donalds

Congressman-Elect Byron Donalds, a long time of champion of criminal justice reform in Florida, joined me on the latest episode of “A Neighbor’s Choice.”

Our conversation started out with discussion of my first interaction with Donalds while he was a Florida House Representative. We discussed the state’s archaic felony theft threshold ($300) that had not been changed since 1986, and how all of Florida’s neighboring states held a significant higher threshold, some as high as $2,500 (Texas). Donalds knew it was time to make a change, and with his and other’s diligent efforts, Florida raised its felony theft threshold to $750 in 2018.

In 2019, Donalds filed the “Florida First Step Act,” which mirrored, at a smaller scale, the First Step Act passed by Congress in 2018. Although the bill was ultimately defeated, Donalds started the conversation that led Florida Senate Appropriations Chairman, Rob Bradley, to file a similar bill the following year.

Criminal justice reform has gained significant momentum in the past four years, and Donalds was one of the champions to ignite the cause.

Moving forward, Donalds has now joined Congress in hopes of ensuring sound conservative policy. He discussed his hesitation with no-knock warrants, and also expressed an interest in tackling collective bargaining issues. We both agreed that police funding should stay at a local level, and agreed that we should not support defunding law enforcement. At the same time, local dollars should stay where they belong, meaning state associations that collectively bargain on behalf of local law enforcement agencies should return the savings back to the taxpayers.

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