Marco Rubio – Page 5 – Florida Politics

Marco Rubio introduces bills to make daylight savings time permanent

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced two bills that would make daylight savings time permanent.

One bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, would make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent across the country.

Meanwhile, his Sunshine State Act would give Florida federal approval to establish permanent DST within its boundaries.

“Last week, Florida’s legislature overwhelmingly voted for permanent Daylight Saving Time for the State of Florida,” said Rubio in a media release. 

“Reflecting the will of the Sunshine State,” Rubio added, “I proudly introduce these bills that would approve Florida’s will and, if made nationally, would also ensure Florida is not out of sync with the rest of the nation.”

The sponsor of the Florida bill, Miami Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Florida House of Representatives, offered support for Rubio’s legislation.

“As the 2018 session just recently concluded, I am proud to have sponsored HB 1013 which overwhelmingly passed both the House and Senate.We have heard from countless Floridians about the importance of maintaining Daylight Saving Time, including benefits to our economy, public safety and health. I look forward to working with Senator Rubio and his colleagues on addressing this issue. I am confident that the Sunshine State will lead the growing movement across the nation in adopting DST year-round,” Nunez said.

The Rubio media release cites a number of potential benefits of perpetual DST. Among them: economic benefits, including specific benefits for agriculture; improvements in physical fitness; a decrease in robberies and car wrecks involving pedestrians.

D.C. officials, Ted Deutch call Marco Rubio a hypocrite, phony for his D.C. gun bill

Washington D.C.’s mayor and representative to Congress, joined by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch from Florida, called Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio a hypocrite Tuesday because of his proposal to repeal gun laws in the District of Columbia while offering support for tighter gun laws in Florida.

Deutch, of Boca Raton whose district includes Parkland; U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from D.C.; Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser; and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz contended in a telephone press conference Tuesday that Rubio’s Senate Bill 162, which would revoke all municipal gun laws in Washington, would fly in the face of statements he made about tighter gun restrictions following the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Bowser accused Rubio of hypocrisy. Deutch said of his colleague, with whom he stood at a post-Parkland town hall meeting attended by thousands of area residents in February, “It’s not courageous to say one thing and then to do another. It’s phony.”

Norton declared, “We want Sen. Rubio to withdraw his bill that would repeal all gun laws in the District of Columbia. We’re not going to let him take his stand as a senator who is trying to do something about gun violence and then systematically in every Congress put in a bill, the most extreme bill, that would wipe out gun laws in a district not his own!”

Rubio is not going to withdraw it, contending that the District of Columbia is under federal law, and he believes Congress, not the district council, should be left to address gun laws there.

“Senator Rubio’s bill will not be withdrawn,” a spokeswoman in Rubio’s office said in a statement. “The District of Columbia is a federal jurisdiction and this bill simply aligns D.C. firearms regulations with federal law. If federal law is changed, it would apply to D.C. as well.”

His bill also is not going anywhere, unless something unexpected happens.

Rubio first introduced it in 2015, and again last year. It has not received a single co-sponsor. Nor has it been heard by a single committee.

Rubio’s office said the bill grew from concern that he felt upon learning about the plight of an office employee, who wanted to bring two legally acquired handguns to D.C. to protect herself following a shooting near her building, only to find a very cumbersome regulatory process.

Norton accused Rubio of sponsoring the bill to upgrade and keep a good rating he received from the National Rifle Association after he first introduced it. She argued his continuing sponsorship, without ever getting a cosponsor or any movement, suggests his motive is only to have his name on the bill, saying it shows “a great deal of cynicism.”

“In order to keep that rating, it seems to me, is what he does is he keeps putting it in, knowing full well we’ll be able to stop it,” Norton said.

Deutch ripped into Rubio for listening to Parkland residents and responding with sympathy for requests for such things as a minimum age limit of 21 for the purchase of firearms, something D.C. already has, while promoting a bill that would remove such an age limit and other restrictions in Washington.

“The question is not is there some greater urgency to moving this bill now,” Deutch said. “The question is: why is it, a month after the Stoneman Douglas shooting, there is no urgency to move forward on any of the meaningful steps to help curb gun violence in our communities? That is the question, frankly, that Sen. Rubio ought to be asked as well.”

Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson push bipartisan bill to tighten reporting on gun background checks

When someone fails a background check while attempting to purchase a gun, that should be reported to state law enforcement as a possible precursor to criminal gun activity, under a bill being pushed by Florida’s U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson and a bipartisan group of several other key U.S. senators.

Republican Rubio, Democrat Nelson, Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, and Delaware Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Coons announced Monday they will sponsor a bill called the “NICS Denial Notification Act” which will help alert state law enforcement agencies to allow them to enforce existing laws against individuals who attempt to purchase firearms but have no legal right to do so.

The legislation also is backed by Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Illinois Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and Missouri Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“The Parkland shooter was able to carry out this horrific attack because of multi-systematic failures,” Rubio said in a news release issued by his office. He tied the bill to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to reports that the alleged shooter’s intentions should have been clear to law enforcement officials.

“While we work to ensure that our background check system contains the critical information necessary to be able to conduct an effective background check, we must also ensure that federal and state authorities are successfully communicating with one another when it comes to dangerous individuals and their attempts to acquire firearms,” Rubio continued. “The NICS Denial Notification Act would not only require federal authorities to flag background check denials for state-level authorities, it would also hold these federal officials accountable. This would be a strong step forward in preventing future tragedies. I urge my colleagues to immediately support this bipartisan legislation so that the president can swiftly sign it into law.”

A similar bill, House Resolution 4471, was filed in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by Illinois Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley. It’s gone nowhere — despite a bipartisan group of 13 cosponsors.

When convinced felons, fugitives, domestic abuses and others banned from legally purchasing firearms fail a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database, they often violate federal and state laws, the release notes.

However, the federal government rarely prosecutes any of these individuals, the release adds. What’s more, 37 states and the District of Columbia all rely on the FBI to do some or all of their background checks, and generally are not made aware when prohibited persons fail the checks.

Individuals who are willing to “lie and try” to buy a gun may be dangerous and willing to obtain guns through other means, the release notes. As a result, these states and D.C. may lack critical law enforcement intelligence that they could use to try to keep their communities safe.

“Efforts to reduce gun violence are only as good as the systems in place to prevent prohibited individuals from obtaining guns,” Nelson said in the release. “This bill is just another commonsense way to further those efforts to keep our communities safe from gun violence. I hope we can continue this conversation and continue to work together on comprehensive gun reform.”

The bill also would require the U.S. Department of Justice to publish an annual report with statistics about its prosecution of background check denial cases, so that Congress and voters might hold federal officials accountable.

The effort already has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police; Major Cities Chiefs Police Association; Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; National District Attorneys Association; National Domestic Violence Hotline; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Everytown for Gun Safety; and the Giffords Foundation, according to the release.

Bill Nelson bemoans snub to White House gun meeting as ‘counter productive’

Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was conspicuously absent from a meeting President Donald Trump convened Wednesday in the West Wing with key lawmakers and stakeholders in the gun violence debate following the Parkland massacre, and on Friday he dismissed the meeting as show, and predicted Trump will pivot from assurances he made there.

Speaking on the MSNBC show Morning Joe Friday, Nelson said his snub by White House officials who did not invite him to the meeting was “counter productive that they would want to exclude me” from efforts to seek any bipartisan reforms in the wake of the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting that left 17 dead.

Nelson is likely to face Florida Gov. Rick Scott in this year’s U.S. Senate election. Scott has been a strong supporter of Trump.

The meeting did have both Florida and Democratic representation. Florida’s U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was there. So was Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Orlando, who solicited the president’s support for her House Resolution 1478, a measure with some bipartisan backing, which would lift the ban on federal research into gun violence.

Friday morning, Nelson dismissed anything that Trump did offer, embracing some gun control measures, as unreliable, especially since the president followed that meeting with one Thursday night with NRA officials. Trump tweeted last night, “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”

Nelson accused Trump of making promises and then rejecting them days later, and said that appears to be happening already with his interest in certain gun reforms.

“It’s symptomatic of what’s happening in our society today, where everybody is retreating to polls, they’re getting very self-interested, highly partisan, highly-ideological rigid, and we’re seeing that play into this question about what do we do in the aftermath of these massacres,” Nelson said.

Nelson expressed strong pessimism that any significant reforms will clear Congress, noting that 60 votes are needed to get passage in the U.S. Senate.

“It depends on the NRA If they go and threaten our Republican brothers and sisters, that they’re going to take them on in the next election, I think it makes it very difficult for them even on something as common sense as comprehensive universal background checks,” Nelson said. “You’re right. That’s off the charts, not only nationally, but in Florida as well.”

Darren Soto gets perfect score from Conservation Voters, tops Florida members

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando received a perfect score of 100 for his environmental issues voting record from the national League of Conservation Voters, the only member of Florida’s delegation to do so.

The league’s annual “National Environmental Scorecard” for the 2017 session of Congress, gave Soto checkmarks across the board on 35 issues the organization tracked in the U.S. House of Representatives last year, putting him the company of 84 members of the U.S. House nationally who got the league’s perfect score.

The scorecard found widespread support for the league’s positions among Democrats, and widespread opposition among Republicans. Nationally, Democrats averaged a score of 94, and Republicans, 5.

In Central Florida, Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando got a score of 97; and Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, 91; while Republican U.S. Rep. U.S. Rep. Dan Webster of Lake County and Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Ponte Vedra Beach both received a score of 3; and Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Rockledge, 0.

Elsewhere in Florida, the next highest-scoring Democrats were U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel and Alcee Hastings, who both got 94; and the lowest-scoring Democrat was U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who got 69. The highest-scoring Republicans were U.S. Reps. Brian Mast, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who all got 23. Several other Republicans got zero.

On the Senate side, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson got a 95 and Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio got a 0.

Soto has pushed for several pieces of legislation and funding relating to restoration projects for the Kissimmee River and the Everglades. His and the other members scores, however, also covered legislation and issues ranging from support for the U.S. EPA to global warming, and from California water resource management to pesticides.

“I am honored to have received a perfect score on the LCV Scorecard,” Soto stated in a news release issued by his office. “You can count on me to continue fighting to protect our environment, especially fighting offshore drilling and keeping our Florida coasts and waters pristine. Legislation I’ve recently introduced would protect the Everglades and provide resources to restore our beloved Kissimmee River.”

The league has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970, and states that the selected issues, positions, and scores represent a consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations. The issues include energy, climate change, public health, public lands and wildlife conservation, and spending for environmental programs.

Marco Rubio post-Parkland plan focuses on school security, restraining order seizures

Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday announced his Senate plan to respond to the Parkland massacre, which includes strengthening school security, providing for “restraining order” powers for police to confiscate weapons from dangerous individuals and adding to the gun purchase background-check databases.

Rubio said his plan, which he called a comprehensive response, has emerged from his meetings over the past two weeks with law enforcement, firearms sales experts, students, teachers, and administrators, including discussions at his CNN town hall appearance last month.

“I have also been in constant contact with several of the parents of the victims who lost their lives,” he said.

However, it does not explicitly address two things he declared on CNN that he would support: raising the minimum age for weapons purchases, or limiting capacity sizes for ammunition magazines. He said Thursday he would “explore” such reform prospects, in the face of their current unlikelihood in Congress.

Much of Rubio’s plan involved supporting or adopting ideas pushed by his colleagues. He outlined it in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

“After the tragic events of February 14, the Parkland community, the residents of Florida, and the entire nation have demanded action,” he said. “While there are sharp differences on restrictions to the Second Amendment, there is widespread agreement that we must act now to prevent another tragedy like Parkland from happening anywhere else, ever again. “

Rubio reiterated his focus on the reports that the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI had plenty of reasons to suspect that charged attacker Nikolas Cruz was about to commit an atrocity, but failed to take action before he allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17. His plan addresses several responsibilities and potential changes in procedures for federal, state, and local law enforcement, and for schools working with them.

“I believe this attack could have been prevented if current law had been fully enforced. This killer was a well-known danger to the school district and the Broward Sheriff’s office. He was also the subject of two separate and specific warnings to law enforcement agencies. People saw something and said something. And yet this deranged and violent individual was able to pass a background check and buy 10 separate firearms, and ultimately walk right into a public school and take the lives of 17 innocent Floridians,” Rubio said in a news release issued by his office.

“This tragedy is the result of a massive multi-systemic failure involving federal, state and local authorities who failed to identify the threat he posed and coordinate a response to stop him before he took action. It is this failure which we should focus on by addressing the shortcomings and vulnerabilities in our current laws and policies,” he added.

Among his plan:

– He said he would join the Utah Republican U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch‘s “Stop School Violence Act,” to strengthen school security, provide school training to identify threats, and create school-threat assessment and crisis intervention teams to coordinate with law enforcement.

– The introduction of a “Gun Violence Restraining Orders” bill, similar in concept to others previously introduced by such members of Congress as U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, the Democrat from Winter Park, and California Democratic U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, which would give law enforcement protocols to remove guns from individuals who pose a threat.

– Support for the “Fix NICS Act,” introduced last year by Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, which would require all federal agencies, and would incentivize states, to fully report all relevant information to a national background check database that could be used when background checks are run on people purchasing guns.

– Support for a new bill called “Lie and Try,” modeled after some states’ legislation, which would alert law enforcement and prosecutors of individuals who attempt to purchase guns and fail background checks, “so that they can be investigated and prosecuted.”

“I will continue to explore additional reforms involving age limits and potentially magazine capacity,” he said. “These reforms do not enjoy the sort of widespread support in Congress that the other measures announced today enjoy. In order to successfully achieve passage of these ideas, they will need to be crafted in a way that actually contributes to greater public safety, while also not unnecessarily or unfairly infringing on the 2nd Amendment right of all law abiding adults to protect themselves, hunt or participate in recreational shooting.”

Gus Bilirakis defends 2013 opposition to Violence Against Women’s Act

Tarpon Springs Republican Gus Bilirakis is facing heat over a five-year-old vote against the Violence Against Women’s Act.

Since 1994, Congress has taken every opportunity to reauthorize the Act, which provides protections for victims of domestic violence. However, in 2013, several congressional Republicans pushed back hard against reauthorization — a group that included Bilirakis. 

The legislation funds rape crisis centers and hotlines and community violence prevention programs. It also helps victims evicted from their homes because of domestic violence or stalking and offers legal aid for survivors of domestic violence.

Now, in a fundraising email this week, Democrat Chris Hunter, who is running for Florida’s 12th Congressional District, attacks Bilirakis for his opposition five years ago.

“He voted against extending safety protections even though the Violence Against Women Act enjoyed support from people in both parties,” writes Hunter, a former federal prosecutor. “Violence does not discriminate and neither should Congress. Voting to deny safety protections was shameful.”

Bilirakis’ deputy chief of staff Summer-Star Robertson explains his 2013 “no” vote: He was advocating a clean reauthorization of the original Violence Against Women Act and voted in favor of a substitute amendment to the Senate version sponsored by Michigan Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

That version also ensured protecting women from abusive and dangerous situations while offering proper support to victims and prosecution of offenders to the fullest extent of the law, Robertson added.

Nevertheless, she said Bilirakis couldn’t support the final passage of the Senate version because it contained new provisions “that he believed could have negative consequences … Specifically, the final version of the bill diverted a large amount of funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs without any substantial proof or coherent argument that such a transfer would lead to more convictions or greater protections for women.

“Having been a state appropriator, he strongly believes state policymakers should have retained the discretion and flexibility to determine how those funds could best be utilized to meet the needs of women in their states in the most effective manner possible.

“Additionally, he had significant Constitutional concerns about newly added language in the final bill granting tribal courts criminal jurisdiction over cases involving non-Indians.”

Also in opposition was Florida Republican Marco Rubio, one of just 22 U.S. Senators who also voted in 2013 against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women’s Act.

Rubio’s stated opposition echoed Bilirakis; he disagreed with how the bill shifted funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs and took power out of state hands. Rubio also opposed a provision allowing Native American tribal governments greater jurisdiction in abuse cases, giving tribal courts the power to prosecute non-Native American men.

Hunter is one of four Democrats in the CD 12 contest this year; the others are Robert Tager, Matthew Thomas, and Stephen Perenich.

Marco Rubio says Parkland murders result of ‘multi-systemic failure’

At a Congressional roundtable Wednesday at the White House, Sen. Marco Rubio described the Parkland murders not as a failure of gun control, but as a “multi-systemic failure.”

“This was a multi-systemic failure,” Rubio said. “The Sheriff’s Office knew this was a problem. The FBI knew this was a problem. The Department of Children and Families knew this was a problem.”

“The big problem is they don’t talk to each other. Nobody told the others what they knew,” Rubio said, before outlining legislative remedies.

One remedy, Rubio said, is live in the House and soon to be live in the Senate: the Stop School Violence Act, sponsored by Rep. John Rutherford in the House.

“The best way to prevent these is to stop it before it starts. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t harden schools. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have debate in other areas … get on them, get them the services they need, and deny them the right to buy any gun,” Rubio said.

“I think that’s something that holds tremendous bipartisan promise,” Rubio said.

The Senator also held up Florida’s proposed reforms in the wake of Parkland as a possible example for the rest of the country.

The plan offers some moves toward gun control: restrictions of purchases by those who have been Baker Acted, as well as a ban on commercial sales to those under 21, and a “bump stock” ban. As well, $450 million for school hardening, and another $50 million for mental health, including overt cooperation between local law enforcement and the DCF.

“We can still debate some of the other things,” Rubio said, “but we owe it to the families.”

The President agreed with the Senator.

Marco Rubio upside down in new Q poll, especially with Hispanics

Marco Rubio had a rough night last week in Sunrise, where he faced a lion’s den of hostile voters during a CNN live town-hall meeting featuring family members and friends of the victims of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland the week before.

Rubio apparently isn’t too popular with the rest of the state either, as a new Quinnipiac Poll released Tuesday shows that only 38 percent of Floridians surveyed currently support the Republican lawmaker, with 55 percent opposing him. Nine percent did not have an opinion.

The survey of 1,156 Florida voters was conducted Friday, Feb. 23-Monday, Feb. 26, days after Rubio took a verbal beating from angry Broward County residents, some of whom accused him of being a sell-out to the National Rifle Association.

When pressed by Cameron Kasky, a student who survived the shooting at Douglas High, Rubio declined on multiple occasions to say whether he would accept future contributions.

Instead, he insisted over the booing and groaning in the crowd that he does not buy into the agendas of outside organizations and that they instead have to support his.

Rubio notably did say that he was open to reconsidering his position on the size of magazine clips, a chief policy prescription that gun control advocates favor.

He also said that he believes that nobody under the age of 21 should be able to buy a gun, and broke with other Republicans in saying that he did not believe that teachers should be armed.

Rubio, a Cuban-American, is not faring well with Hispanic voters either in the new survey. Only 27 percent of those polled support him, while 66 percent say they disapprove of his performance.

Rubio was re-elected to the Senate in November 2016, defeating Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, 52 percent-44 percent.

Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson back FDLE request for $1 million for Parkland reimbursement

Days after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement requested $1 million in emergency funding from the U.S. Justice Department to reimburse law enforcement agencies that responded to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting, Florida’s U.S. Senators, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, wrote in support of the request, urging quick reimbursement, along with U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch.

The money, via Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Precipitous Increase in Crime emergency funds, would mitigate a “strain on state and local law enforcement resources” created by “the additional costs resulting from this traumatic event.”

If more than $1 million is requested, the letter asks for quick approval.

And it is entirely possible that more is needed in the end.

The exact amount that is needed could change in the future, Petrina Tuttle Herring, the bureau chief of FDLE’s Office of Criminal Justice Grants, said last week in a letter.

Material from Ana Ceballos was used in this post.

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