Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 092546
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File Number: 092546 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-1178-09 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: URGE FLA LEGISLATURE PENALTIES FOR CRIMES IN CHURCHES ETC Introduced: 9/9/2009
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 10/6/2009
Agenda Date: 10/6/2009 Agenda Item Number: 11A12
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENHANCE PENALTIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED IN A CHURCH, SYNAGOGUE, MOSQUE OR OTHER PLACE OF WORSHIP
Indexes: LEGISLATURE
Sponsors: Audrey M. Edmonson, Prime Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 10/6/2009 11A12 Adopted P

County Manager 9/9/2009 Additions

County Attorney 9/9/2009 Assigned Jess M. McCarty

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE TO ENHANCE PENALTIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED IN A CHURCH, SYNAGOGUE, MOSQUE OR OTHER PLACE OF WORSHIP

BODY
WHEREAS, on August 24, 2009, a masked, armed robber entered the Jordan Grove Missionary Church in Liberty City, and at gunpoint forced the pastor, church employees and volunteers to empty their pockets of wallets, cash and cell phones; and
WHEREAS, the robber then stole the pastorís 2005 Lincoln Towncar; and
WHEREAS, one week later, on August 31, the Jordan Grove Missionary Church again was robbed and a computer and other electronics were stolen; and
WHEREAS, for centuries, churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship have served as spiritual sanctuaries and sacred places of safety and security; and
WHEREAS, because of their nature and mission, churches and other places of worship are open, welcoming and trusting environments, yet regrettably these very attributes also make places of worship more†susceptible to opportunistic criminals; and
WHEREAS, despite some criminals considering crimes at churches and other places of worship to be taboo, national statistics suggest that crime in places of worship has been on the rise in recent years; and
WHEREAS, more important than valuables that are stolen, crimes in churches and other places of worship can have a significant psychological impact on a congregation and its sense of security in the sanctuary, similar to what a home-invasion robbery might have on a family; and
WHEREAS, Florida law currently provides for enhanced criminal penalties for hate crimes based on religion and for willfully and maliciously defacing, injuring or damaging a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship; and
WHEREAS, Florida law currently does not provide for enhanced penalties for armed robbery and other crimes that occur in churches or other places of worship, such as the crimes that occurred in recent weeks at the Jordan Grove Missionary Church; and
WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature should pass legislation enhancing the penalties for crimes that take place in churches and other places of worship,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature to enhance penalties for crimes committed in a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor; the Senate President; the House Speaker; and the Chair and Members of the MiamiDade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County's state lobbyists to advocate for the issues identified in Section 1 above, and directs that the 2010 state legislative package be amended to include this item.



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