After being term limited out of the House of Representatives, Chris was elected to the Florida Senate in 2008 representing Broward and Palm Beach County. After redistricting Senator Smith represented 14 municipalities in Central Broward County. In only the 3rd year of his first term Senator Smith was once again elected Democratic Leader of his chamber. As Democratic Leader he once again set Democratic Policy on statewide issues.
While in the Senate, Senator Smith took on many relevant high-profile issues that effected the State of Florida. One such issue was Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. While a member of the Florida House of Representatives in 2005, Senator Smith argued against the legislation, predicting that many people would be killed because of the unreasonable fears of others, and the killer’s would walk free under a poorly defined guise of self-defense.
The tragic death of Trayvon Martin and the ensuing self-defense claims of George Zimmerman reinforced the nation’s attention on Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, and the ease with which it could be exploited. Unwilling to sit back after his calls on Gov. Rick Scott to convene a statewide task force to examine the controversial law went unheeded, Senator Smith moved to form his own. Consisting of Legal, Law Enforcement, and Judicial Experts, Senator Smith’s group undertook painstaking review of the deadly consequences Stand Your Ground had wrought over the years, and the ease with which assailant had been able to escape responsibility because of the statutes misapplication and misunderstanding. Senator Smith’s task force released a report on its findings, and he has been a frequent guest on national news programs weighing in on the recommendations for change.
Senator Smith also was very instrumental in passing landmark legislation in Florida such as rules and regulations regarding the use of the use of Police Body Cameras, Voting Rights, and even the creation of a Police Academy at Edward Waters College a Historically Black College in Jacksonville, Florida