Florida bill would expand right for officials to visit jails

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida could expand a law that allows certain state officials to visit prisons any time they wish to also include county and municipal jails under a bill approved by a Senate committee on Tuesday.

State law currently allows the governor, Cabinet members, lawmakers, judges, state attorneys and public defenders to visit prisons unannounced. The bill unanimously approved by the Criminal Justice Committee expands that right to include local government detention facilities.

Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo said he proposed his bill after reports that a woman gave birth while in solitary confinement at a Broward County jail.

The bill would also prohibit local jails from denying permission to journalists who want to visit those facilities.