The Florida Senate approved a controversial immigration bill in a 23-16 vote this morning with no debate. #
Senate Bill 2040 is now headed to the House. Because it is different from the House’s measure, it will need a two-thirds majority approval to get taken up on the floor. The legislative Hispanic caucus has taken a group position against the bills, which would mean Republicans likely don’t have the votes to send the measure to Gov. Rick Scott. #
The Senate’s bill requires the use of E-Verify by workforce boards and for people seeking government benefits. It also allows for the deportation of unauthorized immigrants who commit crimes, and for local authorities to check the immigration status of people who have been arrested and confined in jail. #
After the vote, dozens of immigrants and their advocates stood in the Senate gallery, singing hymns in protest as they left the building. When they arrived for yesterday’s debate of a blanket E-Verify provision, which failed, the sergeant-at-arms ordered them not to sing, chant, or otherwise disrupt the business on the Senate floor. #
In a letter sent today to Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, national religious leaders called on West to apologize for saying that Muslim congressman Keith Ellison represents the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.
Florida Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, had harsh words for a component of the state budget proposal unveiled be Gov. Rick Scott yesterday that would eliminate a program created to thwart the Sunshine State's prescription pill abuse epidemic.