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House passes 'Rachel's law' to protect police informants

Rachel Hoffman The House just unanimously approved a bill that would create greater safeguards for police informants -- nearly a year after the death of Florida State University grad Rachel Hoffman.

"Depending on your age, Rachel could have been your sister and Rachel could have been your daughter," said Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, the bill sponsor. "Rachel Hoffman's death was unnecessary and unneeded."

But the bill (HB 271)  has lost some of its force after law enforcement groups complained provisions would hurt the widespread use of informants. Hoffman's parents, who watched from the House gallery, say they will fight to strengthen the legislation next year. Among their wishes: That people in drug treatment programs not be used as informants.

Hoffman agreed last April to become a police informer after officers found marijuana and ecstasy in her Tallahassee apartment. The 23-year-old was found dead of gunshots on May 9 after police gave her $13,000 to buy 1,500 ecstasy pills, cocaine and a gun from suspected drug dealers. Two men have been arrested.