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State Sen. Geraldine Thompson Presents Tyre Sampson Amusement Park Bill Monday

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State Senator Geraldine Thompson speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Opening Day of the 2023 Legislative Session at the Florida State Capitol Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News.
State Senator Geraldine Thompson speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Opening Day of the 2023 Legislative Session at the Florida State Capitol Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Senator Geraldine Thompson is scheduled to speak on her Tyre Sampson Act bill (SB 902) and Public Records/Active Amusement Ride Investigation bill (SB 904) in the State Senate Agriculture Committee at 3:30pm ET today.

Shortly before the hearing, Sen. Thompson spoke with the press to clarify what the SB 902 bill proposes for amusement parks.

 

Here are some of the requirements:

– signage for height and weight requirements
– an annual affidavit and a third party to inspect rides and commission approving the ride
– a duty to report to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) after permit to operate
– training (beyond having 18-year-olds with limited training operating the ride)
– perform maintenance and changes (due to metal fatigue, etc.); there will be unannounced and more frequent inspections
– require seatbelts on any ride that goes above 100 feet (Freefall ride didn’t require seatbelts with the other restraint)
– accident reporting (for any emergency care, including Urgent Care centers, not just hospitals)

 

When Florida National News asked what her initial reaction was when she learned during the investigation that the Freefall ride had no safety belts, she replied, “I’m surprised…I don’t think you should put profits over people. For an additional $20-50 dollars, you could’ve secured the safety of Tyre Sampson [with a safety belt]. Therefore, I decided to amend the bill to require a seatbelt as a redundancy, and not just have it as an option.”

FNN News also asked who would be responsible for choosing the third party inspector for the rides. Sen. Thompson explained that the company can choose and would be responsible for paying for 3rd party based on the criteria for third party inspectors in the legislation. We followed up asking what would happen if companies push back on having to not only allow for more and unannounced inspections and then also be responsible for paying for them. She replied that companies will have to include these inspection costs in their budgets. “How do you put a price on the life of an individual?” she asked.

Sen. Thompson was asked about her public records exemption request for the investigation of the Free Fall Ride on International Drive in the death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson almost a year ago. She explained that she requested the exemption because the investigation wasn’t completed. Once it was, the records were made available, and she added that the fines charged could only be made available at the end of the investigation.

So how would this legislation affect older rides and new rides if it becomes law? Sen. Thompson explained that, if it becomes law, it would apply to any ride launched after July 1, 2023. In fact, it would also affect carnival rides. “Every time you move a temp ride, an inspection would be required–at fairs and carnivals; also go-carts, and bungee jumping rides.”

When asked about her thoughts on the ride being taken down near the anniversary of Tyre Sampson’s death, she replied, “This says that it’s not business as usual. The State of Florida is taking this very seriously. We’re communicating very clearly that this is not business as usual and honoring this young man’s life by calling it the Tyre Sampson Act.”

Sen. Thompson says this bill is expected to have bipartisan support. She mentioned that she has spoken to the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and noted that this is not a partisan issue, but a public safety issue.

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Mellissa Thomas is the Editor of Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

Central Florida News

FDLE to investigate Orange County Sheriff’s Office in custody death of woman

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that on February 20, 2024, at around 3 a.m., deputies responded to 11100 block of Crystal Glen Boulevard in reference to a woman knocking on doors and displaying erratic behavior in the area. When a deputy arrived on scene, they heard breaking glass, which was later determined to be the woman throwing a large paver stone through the window of a residence.

The first deputy on scene made contact with the woman, who began to fight with that deputy. As back up deputies arrived, they were able to secure the woman, who then became unresponsive. Deputies rendered aid and the woman was transported to the hospital where she was later pronounced deceased.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating this in custody death and will turn over its findings to the State Attorney’s Office for review. Once that process is completed, OCSO will conduct its own internal investigation.

The deputies involved are on temporary, paid administrative leave. This is all the information we have for release at this time.

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Central Florida News

Senator Geraldine Thompson Hosts Gospel Concert in Celebration of African American History Month

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State Senator Geraldine Thompson speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Opening Day of the 2023 Legislative Session at the Florida State Capitol Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News.

Orlando, Fla. – All are invited to an evening of music hosted by Senator Geraldine F. Thompson (D-Orlando) and The Wells Built Museum of African American History and Culture. In keeping with the theme for African American History Month, African Americans and the Arts, we invite you to join us for a gospel concert featuring Maurette Brown Clark, who recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of the United States for her contribution to gospel and her ability to lift the spirits of people throughout America. Maurette Brown Clark released the highly acclaimed song, “I Just Wanna Praise You” and is a recipient of the Stellar Awards.

What: The Return: Gospel Concert

When: Saturday, February 24, 2024

7:30pm-9:00pm

Where: Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church

535 W. Washington St. Orlando, Florida 32801

 

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Central Florida News

Orlando Police Arrests Shawn Patrick Spencer III for Homicide

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – According to Orlando Police, on January 30, 2024, at approximately 1:14 p.m., Orlando Police officers responded to the Jernigan Gardens apartments located in the 1400 block of Mercy Drive in reference to a shooting.

The investigation revealed that this shooting began as a Home Invasion/Armed Burglary that led to the resident firing at the suspect. Upon arrival, officers located an individual in the breezeway with a gunshot wound. This individual, identified as Kevin Dewayne Hodges (B/M, 18yoa), succumbed to his injuries.

Source: Orlando Police

Orlando Police Homicide Detectives have charged Shawn Patrick Spencer III (B/M 18yoa) with Homicide-Murder while engaged in Burglary and Armed Burglary of a Dwelling with a Firearm in connection to this shooting.

Today, Spencer III was picked up and taken into custody by the Orlando Police Department’s Fugitive Investigative Unit.

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