POLICE DOG BILL
The Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee approves a bill which would make it a second-degree felony for injuring or killing a police dog. The bill’s sponsor Senator Aaron Bean said yesterday the legislation is in response to an increase in canine officers who have been killed in the line of duty including two animals in the last six months. If signed into law, it would apply to anyone who seriously injures or kills police horses or canines used by fire departments and search and rescue teams.
WOMAN SENTENCED ON DRUG CHARGES
A woman arrested in Warrington last year was sentenced Monday to 20 years in state prison on drug trafficking and drug possession charges. 57-year old Destiny Hobson pleaded no contest to several drug charges. The State Attorney’s office says last June, Hobson sold approximately 30 ounces of meth to a confidential informant at a hotel in Warrington. A search of the hotel room turned up more than 50 grams of heroin and morphine, in addition to another 50 grams of meth and smaller amounts of other drugs.
Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson released an updated concept for the three soccer fields in an expanded Hitzman-Optimist Park on Monday afternoon to the City Council. The city’s updated concept for the fields shows a smaller parking, narrower fields and fewer trees getting cut down. The city is currently negotiating a land swap with the YMCA of Northwest Florida to expand Hitzman Park and build three regulation soccer fields at the back end of the expanded park. Robinson will hold a town hall event with the Scenic Heights Neighborhood Association on February 21st at Scenic Heights Elementary School to talk with residents about the project.
A warning to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office from the ACLU. The civil rights organization says they sent a letter to Sheriff David Morgan warning him to unblock people from social media by this Friday. Channel 3 reports attorneys say the sheriff’s office can’t participate in viewpoint discrimination by deleting comments or banning followers. The letter states County Attorney Allison Rogers warned commissioners to not ban users. ECSO says they continously evaluate legal guidelines of social media and will continue to inform the community through social media while allowing people to exercise their freedom of speech. The ACLU letter also asks all county departments to come up with written guidelines on the subject.
NAVARRE BEACH SHOWERS
New outdoor shower facilities are coming to Navarre Beach. South SAnta Rosa News reports county commissioners approved funding for construction of two new outdoor shower facilities at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier parking lot. Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Director Julie Morgan says during peak tourism season, lines form to use the existing showers, which only have one shower head on each post. The improvements would provide six shower heads per post.
This week marks one-year since the deadly Parkland school shooting. At 10:17 a.m. on Thursday, all schools across Florida will hold a moment of silence to remember the 17 people killed in the attack. The site of the shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will be open for an abbreviated day of community service, but several family members of victims say they will not attend. Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter Meadow in the attack, says he doesn’t need a reminder on Thursday to remember his daughter was murdered. Fred Guttenberg tells the Miami Herald his family plans to spend the day at the grave of his daughter Jaime, who also died in the shooting.
BAN RELEASE FOOTAGE OF MASS SHOOTINGS
A bill that would prohibit government agencies from releasing photos, video or audio that record the killing of a mass violence victim is moving through the State Senate. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved a bill Monday without debate that would create a public records exemption for such photos, video and audio. Senator Tom Lee said he proposed it because of concerns raised after last year’s school shooting in Parkland that left 17 people dead.
Gas prices are on the way down again in Florida. Triple-A says after rising eight-cents two weeks ago, the statewide average for a gallon of regular has fallen five-cents to two-28 per gallon. The most expensive averages are in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton at 2.35, while the cheapest prices are in Pensacola at 2-17 a gallon.
SOLICITING SEX COULD LEAD TO JAIL TIME
Soliciting a victim of human trafficking for sex could soon mean a mandatory 30-day jail sentence in Florida. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved a bill Monday that would create the mandatory sentence. Senator Gayle Harrell said her bill is an attempt to cut off the demand for prostitution that creates the problem of human trafficking. The bill has two more committee stops before reaching the Senate floor.