Danny McAuliffe, Author at Florida Politics

Danny McAuliffe

Affordable housing bill filed amid Puerto Rican influx

With a potential state housing crisis ahead due to an influx of Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria, Rep. Bob Cortes has introduced a bill that promotes greater availability of affordable housing.

The Altamonte Springs Republican’s proposal (HB 987) provides for several changes to help expedite permitting processes for affordable housing projects. It also places a five-year ban on impact fees for affordable housing projects and provides more land for housing construction.

“It should not be difficult for hardworking Florida families to find and keep a roof over their heads,” Cortes said in a release regarding the bill. “With Florida continuing to grow, and especially with so many new residents from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands relocating here, the need for affordable housing Florida has never been greater.”

Since Oct. 3, the Florida Division of Emergency Management has reported that more than 239,000 Puerto Ricans have traveled to Florida through major international airports in Tampa, Miami and Orlando.

The bill incorporates several recommendations made by the Affordable Housing Workgroup.

Cortes sits on the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness, which was spawned by Speaker Richard Corcoran in the wakes of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Cortes was tasked with recommending policies related to education and housing.

In that role, Cortes – who has been a strong voice for Puerto Rico in the Legislature — has recommended recreating the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and the Rental Recovery Loan Program using dollars from local and state affordable housing trusts, commonly known as the Sadowski Trust Fund.

Those two programs were funded with $354.4 million for a one-year stint following the 2004 Hurricane Season.

Cortes’ bill — in similar fashion to his recommendation — proposes the programs be recreated using funds from the Sadowski Trust.

He told Florida Politics last week that requesting the same amount as the 2005 appropriation would be a “big ask, obviously.”

The Sadowski Trust also is targeted by lawmakers for sweeps into other budget items, further complicating the problem. Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $91.8 million sweep of the fund ahead of next year, but included proposed funding for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program ($65 million) and the Rental Recovery Loan Program ($25 million).

But that’s $185 million short of the 2005 appropriation.

Cortes said last week that it’s unknown how much will actually be needed to address affordable housing.

Scott’s office has maintained it’s continually assessing the unfolding crisis of those displaced by Hurricane Maria and that numbers are continuing to change, making it hard to preemptively request dollars.

Meanwhile, there’s a separate bipartisan push to prevent future sweeps from Sadowski dollars. SB 874, sponsored by Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, and HB 191, sponsored by Tampa Democrat Sean Shaw, seek to prevent the dollars from being swept, or repurposed, into unrelated projects or items.

Cortes acknowledged in the press release that even before the 2017 hurricanes, Florida faced a shortage of affordable housing.

“This bill provides long-term, effective solutions to address this need,” Cortes said.

In announcing the bill on Twitter, Cortes called for Orlando Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy to help provide federal assistance.

Rick Scott signs executive order on sexual harassment

Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Wednesday mandating all state agencies under him have a “process that works” when it comes to receiving and investigating sexual harassment complaints.

“We cannot tolerate sexual harassment at all in Florida, and today’s executive order protects state employees by directing how agencies report, investigate and train against sexual harassment in the workplace,” Scott said in a statement.

Effective immediately, all state agencies in the executive branch are to designate a person to provide sexual harassment training for all new employees within a month of their start date.

Scott has also directed each agency to “initiate a prompt review of all complaints of sexual harassment” when they are received.

But he dodged questions about whether he had swiftly handled the allegations against former state Rep. Ritch Workman, whom he appointed to the Public Service Commission. Workman resigned after Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto publicly accused him of making “vulgar and inappropriate gestures” at an event last year.

“Ritch Workman did the right thing for his family, and I’m going to do everything I can to protect everyone in our state … (but) I don’t go into conversations I have with members of the Legislature,” Scott told reporters after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting in the Capitol.

Workman’s resignation came after Benacquisto sent out a statement on the claims, and not after the Scott administration was first made aware of the allegations. Scott said Workman did “the right thing” by stepping down.

During Scott’s tenure, there have been seven sexual harassment cases settled with state executive agencies, totaling $413,750. Fourteen percent of those cases involved state workers alleging sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.

Over the past 30 years, the state has doled out more than $11 million to settle more than 300 cases in which state workers alleged they were sexually harassed or forced to work in a hostile work environment.

Under state and federal law, retaliation against anyone who has reported sexual harassment is prohibited. In order to prevent this from happening, Scott’s executive order states that each agency is required to protect the privacy of those involved.

“To the extent practicable, each agency should take action to eliminate further contact between the complainant and the subject of the complaint until the conclusion of the investigation,” the order states.

The governor previously signed legislation creating a public records exemption for “identifying information of state employees who file sexual harassment complaints.”

After an investigation concludes, Scott is ordering that those who filed the complaint should be offered resources available from the state’s employee assistance program.

State agencies that don’t fall under the governor’s umbrella are not required to follow the practices put forth in the executive order, but Scott “encouraged” them to do so.

Later Wednesday, AFSCME Florida Executive Director Andy Madtes said his union “strongly supports” the Governor’s directive.

“We are hopeful it will give future victims the ability to come forward without fear or intimidation for themselves or their careers,” he said in a statement.

Capital correspondent Ana Ceballos contributed to this post. 

Constitution panel criticized again for procedural hiccups, announces second tour

A friendly scheduling meeting of the Constitution Revision Commission Rules and Administration Committee Tuesday evening took a sharp turn when someone testified that members of a different committee had violated two of the Commission’s rules.

Stephanie Owens, a lobbyist for the League of Women Voters, said the CRC’s Education Committee last month did not follow a rule guiding vote reconsideration and a rule stipulating that all meetings be public.

Owens said both violations occurred when the education body took a vote on Commissioner Erika Donalds’ Proposal 32, which seeks to end salaries for all school board members.

The sloppiness of the vote was documented. The Tampa Bay Times noted that the committee had failed the proposal by vote, then postponed it after “staff forgot to ask Donalds for her vote.” A recording of the meeting shows Donalds standing at the podium before the committee rather than seated with the other commissioners during the vote.

But Owens argued Tuesday that the postponement was technically an improper revote, violating CRC Rule 6.5, which allows only commissioners of the prevailing side to propose reconsideration.

Because Donalds asked to postpone the vote, the rule was violated, Owens contended. But the CRC said that the vote was invalid because of the procedural error. In other words, the vote failing the measure hadn’t technically occurred.

Owens’ criticisms came on two fronts. She also questioned the brief recess held by the committee members once staff realized they did not include Donalds in the roll call. The lobbyist claimed that violated Rule 1.23: “All proceedings and records of the Commission shall be open to the public.”

The brief recess to discuss the error outside of public view, Owens said, was a “blatant violation.”

Tim Cerio, rules chair, is not on the Education Committee but was familiar with the incident. He told Owens that the rule did not apply to the recess because it was a meeting of just the committee, not the Commission as a whole. He said the committee can revert to “Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure,” which provides for such breaks.

Cerio assured Owens that the recess was not a move to evade the public.

“There was a genuine dispute,” Cerio explained. “Staff had to do some homework on the motion to reconsider.”

Commissioners are not required to serve on outside legislative bodies and many hold private careers. Cerio stressed that it’s important to educate those involved in any part of the Commission.

“We need to make sure we educate not only members, but also staff,” Cerio said.

Though it isn’t the first time concerns have been raised over the Commission’s transparency.

Commissioner Bob Solari questioned earlier this year whether private meetings between two commissioners could occur. Solari had difficulty obtaining an answer and ultimately criticized the body to which he belongs.

“One of the things we need to do, as we make proposals and transfer them onto the ballot, is to build the public trust,” Solari told the Miami Herald. “The best way to build the public trust is to operate in a open and transparent manner. If the public was watching our public meetings, the takeaway would not be something that builds that trust.” 

Beginning February, the CRC will begin its second statewide tour to gather input from the public on proposals.

There are six meetings peppered across the state on schedule:

 Feb. 6, 2018 at Nova Southeastern University

— Feb. 19, 2018 at Eastern Florida State College

— Feb. 20, 2018 at University of North Florida

— Feb. 27, 2018 at University of West Florida

— Mar. 13, 2018 at University of South Florida – St. Petersburg

— TBD: Southwest Florida hearing

‘Marsy’s Law’ push seeks equal rights for crime victims

Crime victims and family members are not given the same rights as those of the accused and convicted criminals.

A member of a group charged with amending Florida’s constitution is trying to change that.

Tim Cerio, a commissioner on Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, is pushing a proposal that would equate rights of victims and their family members with those of defendants and convicted criminals — provisions commonly know as Marsy’s Law.

“The United States Constitution enumerates 20 distinct rights that are afforded to those accused or convicted of crimes,” Cerio said at a press conference on the proposal. “The victims themselves, family members they leave behind when a tragic loss occurs have absolutely no rights in our great document.

“Those who are thrust into the criminal justice system by the actions of others have (no rights).”

Cerio said that most states — all but 15, including Florida — have taken steps to amend their constitutions to enumerate victims’ rights. 

Marys’s Law takes its namesake from Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Marsy’s brother and mother were confronted by the accused murderer in a grocery store. The two family members were not aware the ex-boyfriend was released on bail because they were not notified.

Part of Marsy’s Law stipulates the welfare of a victim’s family and the victim must be considered when setting bail for the accused.

There are other unique provisions in Cerio’s proposal, including protection of the victim’s dignity.

Michael Liles, executive director of the Jacksonville-based Justice Coalition, spoke in support of Marsy’s Law provisions. Liles’ wife was murdered in March, and he shared how victims’ rights provisions could have helped him throughout the process.

“I’d have had the ability to say ‘let’s not have a hearing on the day I’d rather be spending time thinking about my wife,’” Liles said. “They’ve scheduled hearings on anniversaries, birthdays — things that are difficult.”

Cerio’s proposal also includes provisions for victims to be free of harassment, abuse and intimidation, and a right for reasonable protection from the accused — so long as the rights do not interfere with the those of the accused.

Though Plantation Democratic Sen. Lauren Book does not have a vote on the proposal, she made a point of expressing her early support of the measure in a statement. A survivor of sexual violence, she said victims and their families “should not fear that they will go unheard or that the criminal justice process will cause them additional trauma or revictimization… That’s why we need Marsy’s Law for Florida.”

Cerio, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, repeatedly explained that his proposal does not seek to limit rights of the accused.

“There should be no takeaway from the important constitutional rights both granted by our federal government and our state constitution to the accused,” Cerio said. “That’s a really important point and its a point that we need to keep stressing.”

Enumerating victims’ rights has polled well in Florida, with one survey finding 85 percent of 700 likely voters agreed with the idea for Marsy’s Law protections.

Still, there is some pushback.

The Florida Public Defender Association provided comments on the proposal at its CRC workshop Tuesday morning, criticizing it on many fronts.

The advocacy arm for public defenders said that a portion of the proposal conflicts with the U.S. Constitution, which provides for a defendant to have a right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have assistance of counsel for his defence.”

Public comments from the association said, “The longstanding federal rights of defendants and the proposed state constitutional rights for victims are largely incompatible.” It said that’s because Cerio’s proposal would allow witnesses to refuse interviews, depositions and other discovery requests of the defense. The association also is concerned over changes to defendant payments and speedy trial provisions.

The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers also provided public criticism. The group said some of the provisions would prevent “meaningful discovery,” which could lead to more trials and an in turn an increased burden on taxpayers.

The group also argued that more trials would lead to more exposure of the victim and that some of the provisions in Marsy’s Law would interfere with the rights of the accused.

A letter from Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, to the Commission raised concerns over how some of the provisions would be enforced, should Cerio’s proposal pass. Among them: how to “reasonably protect” a victim. Mercer questioned whether that requires effort from law enforcement.

If cleared by the CRC, Marsy’s Law would move to the 2018 ballot, where it must receive 60 percent approval from Florida voters to become a part of the constitution.

Richard Corcoran’s political committee tops $750K in November

House Speaker and likely gubernatorial candidate Richard Corcoran’s political committee had a healthy stint in November, raising $753,700 – the fourth-highest monthly total since the committee’s inception last June.

From law firms and attorneys alone, Watchdog raised $208,000 last month. The Land O’ Lakes Republican’s committee also received a combined $35,000 from Swisher International and Dosal tobacco companies.

Also dumped into the Speaker’s committee: $100,000 from Voice of Florida Business PAC, $95,000 from Citizens Alliance for Florida and $20,000 from Missouri-based Isle of Capri Casinos.

While Corcoran hasn’t announced a bid for the governor’s mansion, his committee’s expenditures reflect spending indicative of a campaign ahead.

Watchdog spent $106,320 in November, nearly $25,000 of which going to Rapid Loop Consulting and almost $15,000 to Jacksonville-based fundraising consultants Political Capital. The committee also paid out more than $30,000 to Go Big Media, which advertises on its site that it delivers “big wins.”

To date, Watchdog has raised $5.4 million and has $4.6 million banked. November spending saw a dip from the two preceding months.

Corcoran’s fundraising numbers are good enough to put him in the fourth-place spot among declared candidates if he throws his name in the mix for governor.

Far out in front is fellow Republican and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who added nearly $1 million in contributions between his campaign and committee accounts in November and has about $15.35 million on hand.

Next in line is former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a Democrat, who also raised $1 million in November, putting his total fundraising at around the $7 million mark.

Embroiled Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, the only other major Republican who has declared, has seen his contributions slow to a halt since six women accused of sexual harassment in early November, but he still about $4.8 million on hand between his campaign and committee account.

Bill to review government efficiency sails through committee

Legislation providing for a review of efficiency in government procurement is making its way through the Legislature.

St. Petersburg Republican Jeff BrandesSB 368 cleared the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government Thursday with a unanimous and undebated yes vote.

Brandes’ bill — which is accompanied in the House by Wauchula Republican Rep. Ben Albritton’s similar HB 111 — would create a task force within the Department of Management Services for the “purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and value of state and local procurement laws and policies to the taxpayers in this state and determining where inconsistencies in such laws and policies exist.”

The secretary of DMS, currently Erin Rock, would be given the option to appoint someone to chair the task force or chair it themselves. Gov. Rick Scott would be given seven appointments. The Senate President and Speaker would be given two each, consisting of a member of their respective chambers and a lawyer proficient in procurement law.

The task force would be finalized by the end of July and dissolved by Dec. 31, 2019.

The legislation specifies that members of the task force will not be paid for their work.

A comparable bill from Brandes died last year in its last committee of reference, but Brandes expects it to have widespread support this Session.

Brandes’ St. Petersburg colleague, Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson, has co-sponsored the bill.

Republican lawmakers tackle ‘dark money’

Two Sarasota Republicans are attempting to pass legislation that would prevent political committees and electioneering communications organizations from donating to each other, touting it as a proposal that would end dark money in state politics.

While state Rep. Joe Gruters’ HB 43 and Sen. Greg Steube’s SB 122 do not address dark money in issue advocacy spending, the two bills would have a major impact on hard-to-track spending from PACs and ECOs in state politics.

“Dark money is money spent in Florida’s elections both at the local and the statewide level because of how campaign finance laws exist,” Gruters said. “Dark money is everything that is wrong with politics today.”

Gruters said the issue is bipartisan and that most of the dark money ads are “manipulative” and “negative” attacks. He said Florida voters are left in the dark when they cannot see how funds have been shuffled between PACs and ECOs.

A CPA, Gruters said he personally can’t determine where some money originates.

“If I am an expert, how can the public possibly understand how to find out who is behind the ads that are used with dark money,” Gruters said.

Steube also voiced his concern over tracking ads during political races.

“The biggest thing for me is the voters having transparency in knowing where — when they get that flashy little mailer in the mail — where that mailer came from,” Steube said.

He said that, if the legislation passed, campaigns would spend a lot less in total because there would be fewer attack ads.

“If you had to put your name associated with any negative campaign that you were going to do, I think you’d be much more reluctant and make sure that your facts were right before you do things,” Steube said. “Today you have people who basically launder money through a litany of different political committees, attack candidates and races, and the public has no idea where that money is coming from.”

Gruters said he attempted to push the same bill last year, but had “limited success.”

When asked why it wasn’t favored by legislative colleagues, he said it could be due to change.

“Anytime you have a major change in the system it can be difficult,” Gruters said.

Liberty First Network President Alex Snitker hinted that campaign finance issues could be the powerhouse behind other problems in Tallahassee.

“This issue permeates around all of the other issues,” Snitker said. “If you’re not getting a fair shake as to who is buying off who, then how do you know what the motivation is for whoever is voting for whatever piece of legislation?”

The dark money described by the legislators is a nuanced use of the descriptor, as the legislation circumvents the issue of what’s normally considered dark money.

Dark money was coined to describe dollars used by issue advocacy groups — nonprofits falling under 501c(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and (501(c)(6) tax classifications. It was spotlighted in the recent nonfiction book, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” which examines the libertarian network funded largely by Charles Koch and David Koch.

An illustration at the press conference introducing the legislation read, “STOP DARK MONEY! Support HB 43!”

Newberry Republican Chuck Clemons co-introduced the measure with Gruters.

Order in the court? ‘Courthouse carry,’ gun bills die in committee

A testy meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday saw the deaths of three pro-gun bills, including Chairman Greg Steube’s “courthouse carry” push.

SB 134, Steube’s bill providing for concealed-carry permit holders to store firearms at courthouses, was joined in failure by Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel’s SB 274 and Steube’s other gun-related bill, SB 148.

But not without healthy and at times aggressive debate.

Stargel’s bill provided for people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at private schools that are on the same property as religious institutions. She made her pro-gun stance clear before the committee.

“Some people believe that if we keep guns out of hands bad things won’t happen,” Stargel said. “I have the school of thought that believes the best way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.”

Following a wave of public comments, both for and against the bill, the committee debated among themselves.

With six Republicans and four Democrats, the committee should be Second Amendment friendly, but Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores has been vocal in her opposition to pro-gun legislation, locking her in as an almost definite no vote.

Sen. Rene Gacia, also a Miami Republican, announced his opposition just before the vote, leading to a 6-4 tally against Stargel’s bill.

Stargel’s provision also had been lumped into Steube’s “courthouse carry” measure, so consistent voting logic didn’t bode well for its hearing later in the committee.

But there were two other provisions included in the “courthouse carry” bill that might’ve appealed to those in favor of tighter gun control: a resolution-like Senate position asking the federal government to revisit bump stocks and a provision for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to forward failed background checks for gun purchases to local law enforcement for further investigation.

A representative from Florida Carry, a pro-gun group, lauded Steube for his efforts, but ultimately did not support the “courthouse carry” bill because of the provision about further investigation of failed background checks.

Before the vote, Garcia again voiced his dissent, but not without expressing his usual support for the Second Amendment.

“I for one have always, for the most part, supported the Second Amendment right and I do not believe that we should take the right of gun owners away,” Garcia said. He then cited the bill’s lack of addressing mental health as his reason for dissent.

With failure of his bill all but certain, Steube closed by pointing out the straw man tactics voiced by those opposing the “courthouse carry” measure, reiterating that the policy would only apply to concealed-carry permit holders. The committee had heard compelling arguments from both sides of the gun issue, with gun control supporters citing mass shootings.

“Nothing in this bill certainly allows people to purchase firearms that aren’t legally allowed purchase firearms,” the Sarasota Republican said. He also said none of the recent mass shootings involved concealed-carry permit holders. (The Violence Policy Center completed research on the number of shootings by concealed-carry permit holders.)

But Steube’s argument was to no avail, and “courthouse carry” died by a 6-4 vote.

The committee had postponed the bill’s hearing in November. Last year, it passed the measure in a 5-4 vote after Steube pledged not to expand the bill.

But it had failed, as the Miami Herald reported, when House Democrats traded its failure in a promise to kill a priority of Senate President Joe Negron.

Florida-based national coalition Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, a leading advocate for home rule, said Steube’s bill was the “latest in a series of heavy-handed preemption bills moving through the Florida Legislature in recent years.”

“This is a bipartisan victory for public safety and common-sense local solutions,” said campaign manager Michael Alfano in a statement. “Now, out-of-touch Tallahassee politicians won’t decide into which buildings guns are allowed – local communities will decide for themselves.”

The other bill heard Tuesday, Steube’s SB 148, would’ve provided for concealed-carry permit holders to not be criminalized for temporary or accidental display of their weapon, but that failed in a tie.

Hurricane proposal could clash with Rick Scott’s budget

A proposal seeking to fund affordable housing programs in the wakes of Hurricanes Irma and Maria could be underfunded by Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget.

The policy recommendation, submitted by Altamonte Springs Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes, was mentioned in passing Monday at the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness meeting. Cortes’ proposal was joined by 140 other recommendations heard at the meeting as part of the select group’s recommendation phase.

Cortes recommended to recreate the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and the Rental Recovery Loan Program using dollars from the Sadowski Trust Fund. Both programs were spawned by the Legislature following the hurricanes of 2004 and were also included in Scott’s proposed budget, “Securing Florida’s Future.”

But in 2005 then Gov. Jeb Bush and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings requested $98 million for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and $177 million for the Rental Recovery Loan Program. Scott’s proposed budget requested a $100 million Hurricane Irma aid package that includes $65 million in funding for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and $25 million for the Rental Recovery Loan Program — $185 million short of the 2005 request.

Scott also proposed a $91.8 million proposed sweep of the Sadowski Trust, which is $132 million less than the proposed sweep for FY 2017-2018. Set forth by the Sadowski Affordable Housing Act of 1992, the fund uses documentary stamp tax revenues as a funding source for Florida’s affordable housing programs, including the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL) and the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP).

There’s a bipartisan push to prevent future sweeps from the Sadowski fund. SB 874, sponsored by Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, and  HB 191, sponsored by Tampa Democrat Sean Shaw, seek to prevent the dollars from being swept, or repurposed, into unrelated projects or items.

Cortes said that the two programs, the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program and the Rental Recovery Loan Program, have worked well in the past with the Legislature appropriating the one-time funding of $354.4 million.

Cortes said that would be a “big ask, obviously.” 

But Cortes, who has been a major voice for Puerto Rico in the Legislature, also said funding will ultimately depend on a number of variables that will be determined as the process continues. He added that the dollars in the proposed sweep might be needed to fund the programs, but that is still unknown.

The lack of affordable housing provisions for those affected by Hurricane Maria in “Securing Florida’s Future” likely isn’t oversight. Scott’s office has maintained it’s continually assessing the unfolding crisis of those displaced by Hurricane Maria and that numbers are continuing to change, making it hard to preemptively request dollars. 

Still, if the budget is used as a point of reference, funding could come up short for displaced Puerto Ricans seeking affordable housing.

The committee will vote on final recommendations Jan. 8, just a day before Session begins. Those recommendations will be provided to both Scott and the Legislature.

The committee was scheduled to meet Dec. 7, but that meeting was postponed to Jan. 8.

Carlos Trujillo’s OAS nomination to be heard by Senate

Miami state Rep. Carlos Trujillo’s recent nomination to the U.S. ambassador post for the Organization of American States will be heard by the U.S. Senate Thursday morning.

The position requires confirmation by the Senate. The morning hearing is presided by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Trujillo is chair of the state House Appropriations Committee and has not said whether he will resign ahead of the 2018 Session.

News of the Republican budget chief’s appointment came just two months after he was tapped by President Donald Trump to serve the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Trujillo would be term-limited in the Florida House in 2018. Two Republican competitors, David Rivera and Ana Maria Rodriguez, have emerged to contend for his District 105 seat.

Trujillo’s post is one of three other nomination hearings in the Senate Thursday. The hearings will begin at 10 a.m.

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