House felony-theft bill advances—despite key differences with Senate version

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate agree the state should increase the felony-theft threshold.

But they’re split on what the new number should be.

The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday unanimously backed a proposal (HB 589) to raise the dollar amount of a stolen good that triggers a third-degree felony.

That threshold is currently at $300. The bill, sponsored by Naples Republican Rep. Byron Donalds, would make it $1,000.

“The felony-theft threshold has not been moved in our state since 1986,” Donalds told lawmakers.

The increase is supported by a number of conservative-minded organizations, including Americans for Prosperity, The James Madison Institute and Right on Crime.

The general concept is gaining traction in the Republican-led Legislature. Earlier this month in the Senate, the Appropriations Committee — a key panel — backed a threshold change.

The problem: The Senate’s version (SPB 7072) would increase the new felony floor to $750 — $250 short of the House plan. 

But a lower threshold could mean more influential support.

The Florida Retail Federation has come out in favor of the Senate version. But testified Tuesday against the House’s, at least in part because of the higher threshold. 

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