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State Senate Panel Passes “Stand Your Ground” Bill

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Florida Legislature (Source: David Sutta/CBS4)

Florida Legislature (Source: David Sutta/CBS4)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – In the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a Senate committee approved a bi-partisan bill which proposes changes to neighborhood watch programs and the state’s “stand your ground” law.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale and Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, better defines neighborhood watch operations, immunity available to those who provoke deadly confrontations, and authority of law enforcement to investigate self-defense claims.

“Since its passage in 2005, the state has seen, and the world has come to know, the many flaws inherent in the current Stand Your Ground statute,” said Smith in a statement. “The passage today of the compromise bill is the first step in fine tuning legislation that will finally define what Stand Your Ground is, and who it is intended to protect.”

Similar bills sponsored by both men in the 2013 legislative session were never granted a Senate hearing.

The bi-partisan legislation next moves to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee for a hearing.

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