FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 21, 2022
Tallahassee, FL – Today House Bill 1511, sponsored by Representative Chuck Clemons, passed the Florida House Judiciary Committee in a 12-5 vote. HB 1511 defines and creates third-degree and second-degree felony charges for retail-theft crimes.
"Organized retail crime is a real threat," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "The growth of this criminal activity across the country impacts not only our retail members but our customers. Florida shoppers deserve to be in a safe and enjoyable retail environment. We are thankful for the leadership of Representative Clemons and the support of the Florida House on this measure."
This proposed legislation is a priority of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida retail industry. The bill targets individuals or those in consort with more than one persons who steal multiple times in a limited period of time in different merchant locations.
Last year, Attorney General Moody launched a new task force known as the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange (FORCE). The FORCE database allows law enforcement officers, prosecutors and retailers to work together to help identify and stop criminal activity.
"In the last year, there’s been 60 cases involving more than 250 individuals suspected of organized retail theft or crimes related to organized retail theft," said Representative Clemons. "This piece of legislation will help the effectiveness of this task force and give the prosecutors the tools they need to prosecute these criminals and strengthen the law."
Lorena Holley, Vice President and General Counsel of the Florida Retail Federation, waived in support of this legislation.
Last week, the Senate companion, SB 1534 by Senator Jim Boyd passed the Senate floor in a unanimous 38-0 vote. HB 1511 will advance to the Florida House floor for discussion.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.