A proposal to ban “sanctuary cities” in Florida has run into a legislative hurdle in the Florida Senate.
Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, was forced to table his bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon when it became apparent the support wasn’t there to advance the legislation.
Bean said following the meeting that he’s still working on getting the votes to pass the legislation in the Judiciary Committee.
A similar measure has already passed the House. The measure would require state or local governments or law enforcement agencies to comply with federal immigration laws. Those that declare themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants would face stiff fines of up to $5,000 for each day they are determined to be out of compliance.
It’s a move that critics say is a political statement by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, who is expected to announce his candidacy for governor after the session ends in March.
The failure of the Senate Judicary Committee to act on the proposal drew fire from one of the more conservative voices in the House. Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville area Republican who is running for Attorney General took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the Senate, specifically two South Florida Republicans.
“What happened in the @flseantetoday re: sanctuary cities is an example of what happens when we send a liberal to do a conservative’s job,” Fant tweeted Tuesday. “If you want to end Sanctuary Cities contact @anitere_flores and @SenReneGarcia and tell them to stop holding up this important bill!”
Both Sens. Garcia and Flores, both members of the Judiciary Committee, have a history of stopping immigration issues.
A similar scenario played out last year with a bill banning sanctuary cities. The House adopted the ban, but the issue never came up for a vote in the Senate.
While it might encounter a similar fate this year, Corcoran has been using the sanctuary city legislation to draw attention to an issue that many expect he’ll make a campaign issue.