Corcoran attacks Senate GOP for not backing his sanctuary cities plan

Feb 27, 2018
  • By Jim Turner
  • News Service of Florida
Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran speaks as the Republican leadership in the House and Senate lay out their school safety proposal at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Feb 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Tuesday labeled Senate Republicans as “not real conservatives” for failing to move forward with his priority to ban “sanctuary cities.”

With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, the Senate version of Corcoran’s plan (SB 308) has not gotten through committees, and the Senate sponsor indicated he does not expect it to pass.

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Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican widely expected to run for governor this year, appeared Tuesday on Laura Ingraham’s nationally syndicated talk-radio show to discuss legislative efforts in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Corcoran cited the stalled “sanctuary cities” measure as an example of difficulties he’s faced in trying to eliminate “gun-free” zones in places like schools.

When asked why the Senate hadn’t heard the sanctuary-cities bill, Corcoran replied that’s he’s tried.

“I’ve gone over there. I’ve talked to them. I’ve done everything,” Corcoran said. “They’re Republicans in name only, that’s why. They’re not real Republicans. They’re not real conservatives.”

Sen. Aaron Bean, a Fernandina Beach Republican who is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill, said it’s “true there are all different levels of Republicans and conservatives.”

“Having an R by your name is different for different people,” Bean said.

Bean’s proposal was expected to be heard Jan. 30 by the Senate Judiciary Committee but was postponed and hasn’t been taken up in the subsequent weeks.

Called the “Rule of Law Adherence Act,” the proposal would require local governments to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention requests and to repeal sanctuary policies.

Bean said he’s seen nothing to change the chances of passing the bill, even after negotiating to lessen the severity of penalties for governments that declare themselves sanctuaries from immigration enforcement.

“I don’t see a future for it, unless it was moved to another committee,” Bean said Tuesday. “If a vote were held, we would lose.”

The Republican-dominated House voted 71-35 the first week of session on its nearly identical version of the bill (HB 9). GOP supporters said the bill was needed to uphold the “rule of law,” and Democratic critics said it is unconstitutional and could lead to racial profiling.

Corcoran and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum later debated the issue after Corcoran’s political committee, Watchdog PAC, released a video that focused on immigration enforcement.