2016 Legislative Session Report
We had a very successful legislative session this year including the approval of $20 million in funding for our UCF/Valencia Downtown Campus and $5 million in funding to support the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
There were also a number of other items our legislative team worked on – including fighting off pre-emptions where some legislators were trying to take away our local governments ability to govern.
Kyle Shephard, the Chief Assistant City Attorney, gave a presentation about the 2016 Legislative update.
Death of Gino Nicolas
This weekend, we lost a great community activist and an inspiring young man in our community.
Through his work with My Brothers Keeper, Gino Nicolas, played a critical role in our City, helping to reach some of our most at-risk youth and connect them to opportunity and successful futures.
He was a role model and an inspiration to many of the youth in our Parramore community and his good work will live on in the lives of those young people he touched.
Lisa Early, our Family, Parks and Recreation Director, shared some words about Gino. Commissioner Hill, also shared some words about Gino.
Items of Note:
Proposed Civil Citation Ordinance
City Council considered an ordinance that proposes a new option to enforce the law regarding possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia by making this possession a municipal code violation.
This is not an ordinance decriminalizing marijuana. That is something that our state legislature has jurisdiction over and local governments cannot change that. Under state law, this type of possession is still a first-degree misdemeanor.
This ordinance is about providing our officers with a “third” option, in addition to the two current options of (1) arresting the individual or (2) confiscating and releasing the suspect with a warning. This third option would allow our officers to issue a code violation citation – still holding the offender responsible for their behavior, without the harsh consequences of making an arrest, which can result in jail time and the possibility of a life-long criminal record.
As part of our commitment to providing opportunities for all residents, the City has youth programs aimed at providing academic enrichment, mentoring and job training to at-risk youth.
Sometimes, because of youthful mistakes, these young people enter the criminal justice system for possessing a small amount of marijuana. With an arrest record, it becomes more challenging for them to get a job, join the military or get financial aid for continuing their education.
Understanding how challenging it can be for ex-offenders to get jobs is why through our Blueprint Employee Office we have focused on employing ex-offenders during the construction of our community venues. Through the program, more than 1,000 ex-offenders have received jobs.
This proposed change in policy will help us protect the futures of our young people while allowing our Orlando Police Department officers to dedicate time and resources to preventing more serious crimes.
Ordinances 1st Read – #2 – Proposed Civil Citation Ordinance
Chief Assistant City Attorney Kyle Shephard and Police Chief John Mina, provided a brief overview of the ordinance.