James Grant

State Rep. Mike Hill draws bipartisan condemnation over gay execution “jokes”

State Rep. Mike Hill‘s hometown paper says he’s “unfit” to hold office, and fellow Republicans piled on after Hill was caught on tape “joking” about the execution of homosexuals.

Pensacola News Journal cartoonist Andy Marlette skewered Hill — the founder of the Northwest Florida Tea Party — today, in an opinion piece that includes a recording of the Pensacola state rep’s comments:

In less than 30 seconds of audio from his recent meeting with a Pensacola-based group called Women for Responsible Legislation, Florida Rep. Mike Hill proved why he is both an unfit legislator and an unfit Christian.

Listen to the clip.

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.

And Jesus wept.

There, in that moment, Mike Hill and a few sad members of a small, cruel audience betrayed the most fundamental message of Christ — love.

Hill’s comments quickly created a backlash on Twitter, including from fellow Republican state Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa.

Hill’s an avowed conservative who’s Twitter bio reads: “Pro Life! Pro Guns! Pro Jesus!! Insurance business owner. USAFA grad ’80. GOP member, FL State House. Psalm 91:1″

The Pensacola insurance guy created another media uproar recently, after pledging to re-file legislation similar to a controversial Alabama “fetal heartbeat” law that bans most abortions. His efforts to get the Florida House to pass similar proposals so far have failed.

Democrats also jumped on Hill Friday, with some demanding that he apologize or resign.

Florida Democratic Party Executive Direct Juan Peñalosa took to Twitter and issued a press release condemning Hill’s remarks. Peñalosa, who is gay, also called on Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican Party of Florida to denounce Hill.

 

Corcoran still trailing in House popularity contest

As if legislators don’t have enough to fight about already, House Speaker Richard Corcoran last month injected a new battleground into the age-old political arena of one-upsmanship.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican and avid Twitter-er, rolled out a pair of lists last month — the “Facebook 50” and “Twitter 50” — to highlight the support representatives get on the social media sites.

The more “likes” members receive, the higher their rankings on Corcoran’s lists, blasted out via Twitter.

The competition was designed to push House members to increase their use of social media and “partly just a fun exercise” to see who’s already a Twitter or FB rock star, the speaker’s spokesman Fred Piccolo told The News Service of Florida last month.

But this month’s results leave us questioning how effective the popularity contest is, at least in its early stages.

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Corcoran — who remains in second place — noted on Twitter yesterday there have been “some movements on the board.”

But the top five social media mavens have held their positions, according to the House calculations.

The top tweeter remains Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican who recently lost a bid to take over as speaker in 2022.

Donalds leads Corcoran, who is followed by Kionne McGhee, D-Miami; Jacksonville Democrat Tracie Davis and Tampa Republican James Grant.

The top five on Facebook remain Daniels; McGhee; Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton; Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola; and Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna.

Boyd, 60, who landed 10th on the Twitter list, bragged Thursday on Twitter that “Old man Boyd still ‘schooling’ the younger folk.”

Coral Springs Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz — a 36-year-old late adopter who joined Twitter just a year ago — is noticeable absent from both lists, but that didn’t stop him from delivering this snarky response to Boyd: “On your flip phone.”

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)