Joe Gruters

Gruters — author of FL ban on “sanctuary” cities — takes immigration on the road

After successfully pushing the controversial bill that bans so-called “sanctuary cities,” the head of Florida’s Republican Party is planning a statewide “listening” tour on immigration.

Sen. Joe Gruters, who doubles as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, announced Monday that plans are in the works to hear from Floridians on immigration, a strategic issue in for the GOP heading into the 2020 presidential election.

“I don’t believe we should ever compromise when it comes to enacting common sense policies that promote public safety and uphold the laws of the land,” Gruters said, in a press release touting the Sarasota Republican’s visit to the U.S.- Mexico border .

Democrats, beware: “I want to hear straight from Floridians and listen to their ideas on what additional reforms they’d like to see the legislature address next session,” Gruters added.

On June 14, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “sanctuary cities” bill (SB 168), sponsored by Gruters and state Rep. Coyd Byrd, who will take part in the “listening tour.”

The new law is designed to force local law-enforcement agencies to fully comply with federal immigration detainers and share information with federal immigration authorities after undocumented immigrants are in custody.

Under the law, local governments would be required to “use their best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Opponents have argued, in part, that the bill will lead to increased detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, including people stopped by police for minor offenses.

The release from Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, says the “immigration tour” dates and locations are coming soon.

— By Jim Turner.

Gruters, horses brag on session; Eskamani gets angry

Subtlety apparently wasn’t the goal in videos featuring lawmakers from opposite sides of the aisle, pushed out after the 2019 legislative session wrapped.

Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who’s also the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, got a majestic, campaign-style video featuring a lot of horses and a basso voiceover.

Meanwhile, Orlando Democrat Rep. Anna Eskamani, Florida’s answer to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, went her own route.

Eskamani recruited her twin sister, Ida, to act as her “Anger Interpreter” in a video inspired by comedy duo Key and Peele’s ‘Luther the anger translator.’

In a follow-up tweet, Eskamani, who’s known throughout the Capitol for what seems to be a perpetual smile, made it clear that the video was all in good fun.

“Want to make sure y’all know that we made this video with nothing but love & gratitude for our colleagues and to the legislative process. I do my best to always present as my authentic self, and w/out laughter we have nothing.  ❤️”

For those not in the know, Luther made a political splash in 2015, when he gave some assistance to then-President Barack Obama during the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

So, you don’t have to look it up, here’s the Obama version.

 

By Jim Turner and The Dara.

Lawmakers bad for business? Nah, just so-so

We would have been in deep trouble for earning a ‘C’ average back in the day, but that’s the grade the Florida Chamber of Commerce gave the GOP-dominated Legislature for its work this session.

The Chamber, one of the most influential business lobbying outfits in Tallahassee, granted just a single ‘A’ grade to a member of the upper chamber: Former Senate President Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa (who actually pulled off an ‘A-‘ on the 10-point scale.

That’s a big contrast from last year, when 30 of the Senate’s 40 members received an ‘A’ on the Chamber’s annual legislative report cardannual legislative report card.
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The House didn’t fare much better this year, either.

Republican Reps. Joe Gruters of Sarasota and Dan Raulerson of Plant City were the only lawmakers to ace the finals with perfect scores.

Eleven other House members — all Republicans — earned A-grades.

The grades are based upon how each lawmaker voted on wide range of “pro-jobs issues,” according to the Chamber.

In 2016, 80 of the 120 members of the House got an ‘A.”

Both chambers received passing grades, on average. The Senate received a cumulative 70 GPA, while the House earned a 74 GPA.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the Land O’ Lakes Republican who orchestrated drives to kill the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida and scale back tourism-marketing efforts out of Visit Florida, was among those picking up a ‘C.’

But the business lobbying group flunked Senate President Joe Negron, one of just three Republicans to be branded with an ‘F.’

The Senate president joined Tampa Rep. Shawn Harrison and former Sen. Frank Artiles of Miami — who resigned from the Senate mid-session after a racially loaded verbal tirade at a private club in Tallahassee — and 34 Democrats in getting the ultimate failing grade.

One of Negron’s key pieces of legislation this year was a bill designed to create a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee (SB 10).

The chamber opposed the controversial proposal that was initially crafted to directly impact existing farm land that included large, influential sugar growers.

The Chamber partly attributed the drop in the grades on the lawmakers’ failure to address workers’ comp or assignment of benefits.

Posted by Jim Turner.