In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is joining Commissions across the country to encourage a “Day of Utility Service” on Monday, January 21. [Read more…] about PSC Observes Dr. King Holiday as a National Day of Utility Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Honoring both the memory and the mission of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator Audrey Gibson, and Representative Kionne McGhee have filed legislation to better understand the grave disparities in prison sentences throughout the state of Florida. The bill comes on the heels of a year-long study by the Sarasota Herald Tribune, released under the title “Florida’s Broken Sentencing System,” and was filed on Monday, the national holiday marking the birthday of the civil rights icon and fighter for justice.
The provocative series found that half a century after the civil rights movement, trial judges throughout Florida sentence blacks to harsher punishment than whites, and that bias against blacks in Florida’s courts is shaped, in part, by the makeup of the bench.
Representative McGhee stated, “Judges are sworn to render criminal sentences absent personal bias. As mentioned in the article, bias on the bench perpetuates inequality in the courtroom. This bill seeks to analyze and address judicial patterns in sentencing.”
Said Senator Gibson, “Faced with the reality that even using a point-scoring system and other factors added to our criminal justice system, the components still are not working. To get control over sentencing disparities, it is imperative that we find a better solution to a continuing, inequitable situation, particularly for people of color.”
The legislation, SB 382/HB 255 calls for sentencing data to be compiled annually and presented to trial and sentencing judges, the Legislature, Governor, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In the interest of full transparency, the bill also specifies that the information is to be posted for the public on the website of Florida Legislature’s research arm, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.
SunRail will be closed Monday, January 16 in observance of the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Train service will resume Tuesday, January 17 with 36 regularly scheduled train trips per day. For more information about SunRail, including fares, schedule and station locations, please visit www.sunrail.com. Please be careful around trains, railroad crossings, and while at station platforms. Be smart. Be safe.