Chris Sprowls

Oliva, Sprowls: Mike Hill’s “callous indifference” is “unacceptable.” Hill: “Fake news!”

House Speaker José Oliva and his successor, Rep. Chris Sprowls, joined in the rapidly growing bipartisan chorus denouncing state Rep. Mike Hill for laughing at a suggestion that homosexuals should be executed.

Hill created a firestorm after being caught up tape in an exchange posted online by his hometown paper, the Pensacola News Journal, above an editorial by the paper’s prize-winning cartoonist, Andy Marlette.

Marlette wrote:

A citizen comments: “In 1 Corinthians, it says that a man who has an affair with another man will be put to death.”

Hill’s response?

“It says that in the Old Testament, too.”

Another attendee asks, “Can you introduce legislation?”

Chuckles are audible. The state representative joins the laughter. “I wonder how that would go over?” Hill says.

Hill’s comments, and laughter, drew bipartisan condemnation and calls for the founder of the local Tea Party to apologize, resign or both.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is openly gay, said he was “shocked & disgusted to discover a colleague who I’ve worked with closely would joke about punishing me by death for being gay.”

An hour after the Republican House leaders censured Hill on Twitter, Hill posted a reply to Smith’s outrage.

 

Sheriffs shed some love on lawmakers

The Florida Sheriffs Association bestowed kudos on lawmakers “for their significant contributions to and support of good public safety policies” during the 2017 session.

“These legislators have demonstrated a commitment to protecting the best interests of Florida citizens through their diligent legislative efforts and support of FSA initiatives,” the association said in a press release Thursday announcing its top-rated lawmakers.

Here’s the list of this year’s “legislative champions,” and the rationale:

Representative Jim Boyd (sponsored HB 477 – heroin/Fentanyl bill)
Representative James Grant (sponsored HB 7059 – prolific juvenile offender bill)
Representative Chris Sprowls (supported public safety throughout session)
Senator Jack Latvala (sponsored SB 7059 – prolific juvenile offender bill)
Senator Greg Steube (sponsored SB 150 – heroin/Fentanyl bill)