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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2013 7 years ago

Legislative update: Rep. Dave Hood seeks allies at first session

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Rep. Dave Hood, District 25, is making friends at the current legislative session, in order to ensure support next year when he proposes to lower jail costs and eliminate Florida property tax.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

Florida House of Representatives' Dave Hood, of Ormond Beach's District 25, is thinking long-term.

In his first two months in office, he has sponsored or cosponsored 55 different pieces of legislation. And he believes in those pieces, he says. But he also has bigger plans. He's also making political allies, other House representatives who will return the favor of support next year when he proposes to reduce state jail costs and eliminate property taxes.

Hood, who is a member of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, among others, plans to propose legislation to revise criminal sentencing, citing the high cost of incarceration.

In the state’s 2010-11 fiscal year budget, it cost  $19,472.75 annually to feed, clothe, house, educate and care for every inmate. The state reported 102,319 inmates in June 2011.

“It’s not just dollars and cents,” Hood said. “It’s what are we doing with people’s lives. ... There are things we can to do make the system more equitable and more efficient.”

As an attorney and managing partner with Smith, Hood, Stout, Bigman & Brock P.A., he said he’s had conversations with judges who feel there can be revisions to the sentencing and justice systems.

Hood also wants to explore eliminating property taxes.

“I'm a big believer that if you look at most families, (the) biggest bill other than mortgages is property taxes,” he said. “Even if you pay off your house, you're still renting the property from the government.”

Eliminating the property tax would make Florida more attractive to businesses and developers, Hood said. And that means a much-needed boost to the construction industry.

During the current legislative session, which began March 5 and will end May 3, Hood sponsored a bill which will become effective July 1, making what he called “bookkeeping” changes to law enforcement procedures.

The bill, House Bill 585, focuses on making law enforcement agencies across the state more efficient by making their systems and procedures uniform, like for documenting sex-offender registry.

Currently, Hood said some counties don’t collect the same information with the same methods, which creates problems. The bill requires convicted sex offenders to “provide their fingerprints and photograph during the initial registration period,” in addition to other contact information.

Another bill, House Bill 347, which Hood cosponsored, revises licensing and operations standards for craft distilleries (fewer than 75,000 gallons per year), wineries and breweries, which Hood said will help make them more competitive with larger companies.

Hood, a Republican, defeated Christina Spencer, an independent, during the Nov. 6, 2012 elections.

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