Bill Briefs: Proposals target tax holiday, police strangulation  

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Posted January 25, 2021 | News Service of Florida

A Senate Republican recently filed a bill that would provide a sales-tax “holiday” around the start of hurricane season for people who buy disaster-preparedness supplies.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, filed the proposal (SB 734) for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 2. The state has regularly held such holidays in recent years, with Gruters proposing a holiday from May 28 through June 13.

The annual six-month hurricane season starts June 1. The proposal would allow people to avoid paying sales tax on items such as portable generators costing $750 or less, tarps costing $50 or less, packages of batteries costing $30 or less and food coolers costing $30 or less.

Outlawing police strangulation

About eight months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis touched off nationwide protests, a Florida state senator filed a bill that targets strangulation by police officers.

The bill (SB 730), filed by Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, could lead to officers facing third-degree felony charges if they strangle people under certain circumstances.

“A law enforcement officer commits the offense of strangulation by a law enforcement officer if while on duty the officer knowingly and intentionally impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of an individual so as to create a risk of or cause great bodily harm or death by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the individual or by blocking the nose or mouth of the individual, including the use of a chokehold or similar restraint,” according to the bill.

Floyd, a Black man, died in May after a police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest, preventing him from breathing.

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