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State Senate Panel To Consider Changes To Neighborhood Watch Programs

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – In the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a Senate committee will consider two bills which propose changes to neighborhood watch programs.

The bills, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale and Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, call for local law-enforcement agencies to set guidelines for neighborhood-watch programs and would seek to prevent neighborhood-watch volunteers from confronting or trying to apprehend people suspected of wrongdoing.

The bills will be heard in the Judiciary Committee on October 8th.

Zimmerman was a neighborhood-watch volunteer in Sanford when an altercation led to Martin’s death.

Smith’s bill would also make changes in the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law, such as prohibiting people from using the law as a defense if they leave places of safety to initiate confrontations.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report

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