On week one of Session, House Speaker Richard Corcoran is determined to pass a bill that would penalize local officials who support the passage of so-called “sanctuary city” policies.
The bill “will enforce the rule of law,” Corcoran tweeted Tuesday.
State Rep. Larry Metz, a Lake County Republican, championed an identical bill that passed the Florida House in the last week of Session. The same effort, however, went nowhere in the Senate.
House leadership has made it a priority to push through the bill this Session, but whether history will repeat itself in the Senate remains to be seen.
Republican Sens. Aaron Bean of Fernandina Beach and Greg Steube of Sarasota are leading the charge in their chamber to pass a similar proposal to the one in the House.
The Senate bill has been referred to two committees, but no hearings have been scheduled yet. The first stop would be the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Steube.
The controversial proposals have received pushback from DACA recipients, immigrant advocates, undocumented immigrants, who fear banning communities that act as “sanctuaries” for undocumented immigrants would make crimes that occur to them harder to report.
But Republicans who support the effort, including Corcoran, argue that elected officials cannot uphold the rule of law and support sanctuary cities at the same time. Corcoran has said that if they do support such policies, they should be removed from office.
HB 9 states that police chiefs, sheriff or mayors in communities that honor these policies — currently there are none in Florida — are to be fined or removed from office.
If the bill becomes law, the move would have an “indeterminate” financial burden on local communities. The bill does not guarantee reimbursement for the costs that come from fully complying with federal immigration authorities. That includes the price of holding inmates in county jails past their sentences so that immigration authorities can come pick them up for deportation.
Democrats opposed the measure last Session saying such a law would face constitutional hurdles because it could violate a person’s right to due process.
Corcoran, who is very likely to run for governor and is expected to announce once Session is over, is in support of hard-line immigration policies. He has vowed to pass the sanctuary city bill and praised President Donald Trump for ending protections for Dreamers.
“At the end of the day, I will always err on the side of our citizens and defending the rule of law,” the Land O’Lakes Republican wrote on his website.