Cold Case Task Force Legislation Update

First, I’d like to thank all those that have been supportive of our push for cold case legislation in the state of Florida. Last week I traveled to Tallahassee to attend the Senate Criminal Justice Committee meeting, which had added our SB 1482 – Cold Case Task Force bill to their agenda. Senator Aaron Bean, our senate sponsor, introduced the bill and some facts appropriate to explain why the bill is necessary. At that point I was able to stand up and speak for a few minutes about the bill, it’s importance and why I am pushing for cold case legislation.  The committee members were all extremely attentive and respectful and I realized quickly that they were not going to need a lecture or even much convincing. They were going to support the bill and pass it on to the next committee with little discussion. And with the exception of one, less than thought out, objection (from an individual that has made a name for himself by attending all committee meetings and opposing most bills) the committee unanimously passed the bill through Criminal Justice and onto Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

As I walked out of the committee meeting I was met by multiple reporters and asked to do interviews for both television and newspaper. It was a great opportunity to get the word out to other areas of the state in hopes of generating more interest and support. Please visit our In The News section for links to some of those various reports. Other links to the story also showed up in Senator Bean’s Email Newsletter as well as the Florida Sheriff’s Association Newsletter.

It is great that the bill is being noticed. Unfortunately, it appears that “being noticed” is all that it will be again this year. The House Bill – HB 1115 failed to be heard in their Criminal Justice Committee meetings. I reached out to the Chair of that committee, Rep. Charles Trujillo, and asked his staff why the bill was not added to the agenda (House Criminal Justice committee meetings are now over for this session) and was told “I don’t know”. It seems so cut and dry to those of us that have been affected by an unsolved homicide… pass a law to help bring justice to those it has been denied AND get murderers off our streets OR stand idly by. Perhaps some lawmakers needs to be reminded that the bad guy didn’t just get away, he got away with murder!

I should mention that Sen. Bean’s staff are searching for any way possible to keep this bill alive but I’ve been told by multiple people that it just isn’t going to happen this year. We will not give up though, and one day every state will have cold case legislation and people will look back and shake their head about why it took so long.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

Ryan Backmann
Founder of Project: Cold Case

 

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