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Jacksonville 'Hit-Free Zones' Legislation Could Be Voted On May 8

Lindsey Kilbride
Councilman Garrett Dennis leads a meeting with other council members, medical examiner's employees, and a Wolfson physician as they talk about "hit-free zones" on March 20.

A measure that would make hitting illegal on all city-owned property heads back to committee after Jacksonville City Council members expressed concerns this week over the scope of the proposed ordinance.

District 9 Councilman Garrett Dennis is the sponsor of the “Hit-Free Zones” legislation.

In addition to outlawing hitting on city property, Dennis’ proposal also mandates intervention-training for city employees and signage that identifies areas where hitting is against the law.

On the one hand, he said, having it reviewed by the finance, the rules, and the public-health-and-safety committees will ensure it gets seen by more people.

“It also could be an effort to try to kill the bill in committee so it can never see the light of day. And I hope that’s not the case because we’ll be sending a message that we do not promote anti-crime initiatives here in our city,” said Dennis.

The measure is expected to come up for a vote by the full city council on May 8.

The idea of hit-free zones is one that’s being adopted by children’s hospitals around the country, including Wolfson Children's Hospital here in Jacksonville.

Hospital officials say Wolfson employees received training on when and how to intervene in situations that could escalate into violence.

The hospital has offered to share its training materials with the city.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.