Senate strips DCF carve out from ‘sanctuary city’ bill

sanctuary bill
Now it's back in the House.

With one day left in the Legislative Session, the House and Senate continue to struggle to align on a bill targeting so-called “sanctuary cities.”

The Senate again on Thursday passed by a 22-18 margin SB 168, its version of the “Rule of Law Adherence Act,” but there is still considerable daylight between the two pieces of legislation, with the House preparing to consider the latest Senate version.

If a unified plan doesn’t pass, Florida Republicans (including Gov. Ron DeSantis) will have fallen short on a campaign priority: to officially eliminate sanctuary jurisdictions, even though there aren’t any currently in the state.

Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, suggested that the chamber “[has] the votes to pass a much stronger version of this bill,” meaning the House version passed on Wednesday.

However, Gruters restored the Senate language, rather than voting on the House version as transmitted.

One change from the last Senate vote: The unfriendly amendment exempting Florida Department of Children and Families from the sanctuary ban that was described as creating a sanctuary agency; Gruters was fine with that House dealbreaker being exempted.

“It’s the optics … that we’re making a sanctuary agency,” Gruters said.

Before the last Senate passage of the legislation, Miami Democratic Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez successfully got an exemption for reporting requirements lifted from DCF workers.

Though Rodriguez and other Democrats fought to keep the condition in the bill, it fell short.

Democrats pushed a series of similarly ill-fated amendments, irking Sen. Rob Bradley.

“Bills are dying,” Bradley said. “If you like the bill, you can vote yes. If not, you can vote no.”

Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson pushed back against Bradley’s assertion that the amendment process was silly and pointless. And Senate President Bill Galvano backed her up, ensuring that the Senate would continue fine-tuning a bill that the House won’t consider as it is written.

Other Senators wondered why Democrats didn’t just combine everything into one amendment.

Galvano again backed the process over his party, noting that Democrats have the right to present amendments as they see fit.

And Republicans had the right, and exercised the right, to turf them unceremoniously.

Sen. Darryl Rouson wondered, during debate, why a single amendment from the minority party “wasn’t good enough.”

Democrats, including Gary Farmer and Jason Pizzo, pointed out that immigrants often perform jobs the native-born won’t.

“Without immigration,” Farmer said, “the United States workforce would be shrinking right now.”

Sen. Tom Lee noted the difficulties of finding language to conform with the House.

“Nobody can point out sanctuary cities … policies in the state,” the Thonotosassa Republican said.

Noting that Senators are not “legislative sociopaths,” Lee suggested that immigration violations should not be the primary offense for which people are arrested, which would constitute a version of a “show your papers law.”

“What’s wrong with putting things on paper that do people no harm,” Lee asked rhetorically. “We create these infirmities in our own message.”

Gruters, in close, said the bill was only about a 48-hour detainer.

“That’s how long we’re requesting [locals] to hold people,” Gruters said.

“This is not about politics,” Gruters added, but the “rule of law.”

The House plan contemplates removal of non-compliant local-government employees and elected officials to be suspended or removed from office, and $5,000 daily fines for non-compliant jurisdictions.

The sanctuary ban already was approved by the House once before the Senate sent back a version that removed penalties for non-compliant jurisdictions (a deal breaker for the House).

However, all indications are that the two chambers may be able to find common ground, at the last possible moment.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • gary

    May 2, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    This is my second attempt at setting the record STRAIGHT! There is at least one SANCTUARY CITY in Florida! Mayor Rick Kriseman declared Saint Petersburg a SANCTUARY CITY last year in a formal letter to the city residents through the monthly city news blog!

  • Lee

    May 2, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Lets see, we have Democrat / Socialist / Activist / Lawyers in the Northern Triangle of South America & Mexico; even as you read this instructing the populations the “benefits” & laws of coming top the USA…..”credible fear.” Then you have a Democrat House saying the crisis is “manufactured” as literally thousands attack our border daily? National Sovereignty is a myth to Democrats. The crisis is manufactured…by the Democrats themselves. Make no mistake about this, Democrats want this to happen and never stop.. They will with hold support allowing as many illegal aliens to enter the country before assisting in border security (if ever). Democrats offer rewards, incentives so…..More caravans on the way.

    The current migration at our border is costing U.S taxpayers a Kings ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don’t stay in Mexico when they reach “safety” or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant? Give birth on American soil and the U.S. taxpayers will not only pay for the birth of you’re child but will also give you state government assistance.

    To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) are permanent programs. There is nothing “temporary or deferred” about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.

    It seems Democrats view U.S. citizens as acceptable collateral damage to their future long range goals of flooding the country with refugees & illegal aliens and having taxpayers paying the cost. Democrat politicians and their voters have put families at risk of being victimized by illegal aliens as in the cases Kate Steinly (nothing done) then, Mollie Tibbetts, (nothing done) Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, (nothing done) now Bambi Larson; butchered in her home, nothing will be done…who’s next? These victims would be alive today if our border was secured. Most of these killers have been deported numerous times. Bambi ‘s killer claimed “amnesty” to get into the country.

    Google search “illegal alien crime” or “victims.”

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children & grand children as has been passed on to us.

    * City emergency services Taxpayer pay for every police, fire, paramedic service call for illegal aliens in their city. Taxpayers also pay for all hospital, emergency room treatments, ambulances, medications….everything. Hospital wait times for citizens are negatively impacted.

    *Cost of educating illegal aliens is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers on average $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the millions spent on bilingual ED, instructors, special need children & day care. It is estimated nearly 100,000 illegal aliens graduate each year……you do the math. School class size are also negatively impacted by illegal aliens and our students suffer as a result.

    *Taxpayers in some states are funding “in state college tuition” discounts for illegal aliens. (AZ voted to terminate this taxpayer expense.) Cost to taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

    *About one in five inmates in federal prison are foreign-born, & more than 90% of those are in the U.S illegally. This does not include local jails and state prisons. At roughly $24,000 per year expense per inmate.

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the criminal justice system.

    *$2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP, WIC, & taxpayer funded school lunches. Visit youtube search “cost of illegal immigration.”

    *Mexico received 33 billion last year in remittance from our country. $120 billion total was sent out of the United States in total remittance last year.

    *Every child birth by illegal aliens in the U.S is paid for with tax dollars.In the US, the average cost to have a baby without complications during delivery, is $10,808, which can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy (July 9, 2018 google.)

    * Section 8 housing. Illegal aliens take full advantage of this program. Citizens & their families in poverty in many cases wait years behind non citizens for emergency housing.

  • Frank

    May 2, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Democrat 2020 Platform & Goals:

    *Open Borders.
    *Sanctuary Cities.
    *Elimination of ICE
    *Disarming Americans.
    *Voting rights for illegal aliens.
    *Pack the courts with radical liberal judges (Like the 9th circuit)
    *Increase refugee’s from the third world.
    *Illegal aliens allowed to hold public office.
    *Free Abortions (Taxpayer funded)
    *The green new deal.
    *End of Electoral College
    *Free health care for all including non citizens (taxpayer funded)
    *Raise Minimum Wage
    *Have adolescents vote
    *!00% free college for all, including non citizens. (tax payer funded)
    *Reparations for every race “harmed” by the white man.
    *Convicts, Terrorists voting.
    *Susie & Bobby using the same restrooms.
    *Late term abortions.
    *Paycheck for every resident of the US if you choose to work or not.

    <Source-straight from the Democrats mouths.

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