Critics: Bill aimed at street people

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 10 (UPI) -- Gov. Jeb Bush has 15 days to sign a bill critics say was passed to clear Jacksonville, Fla., of street people before the Super Bowl in February.

The bill requires mandatory jail time for habitual petty offenders, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.


Anyone convicted of five misdemeanors in a 12-month period would be sent to jail for at least six months.

"It's basically window washers and homeless people we're talking about," said state Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, Fla. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which never got a chance to review the bill before it cleared the Legislature.

"Who else is going to get five misdemeanors in a year? It's the most powerless, pathetic members of our society," Gelber said. "And it's being done because they want to clean up Jacksonville for the Super Bowl."

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, who proposed the bill, said Gelber is "absolutely wrong."

He said the bill would help the sick and homeless while punishing the petty drug peddlers and prostitutes who benefit from the justice system's "revolving door."


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