The Florida House has passed a bill establishing autism awareness training for police officers across the state.
House members on Thursday unanimously voted in favor of the bill (HB 39). It develops ongoing training to help police officers recognize the behavior of autistic individuals, as well as to teach officers how to respond appropriately.
The push for legislation comes after a police shooting in North Miami last summer left an unarmed black therapist shot and injured while protecting his severely autistic client. The autistic man had been the intended target in the shooting. Following the shooting, advocates for autistic people called for more training for officers.
A similar bill (SB 154) in the Senate has advanced to its last committee hearing.