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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Controversial Questions Withdrawn



Gubernatorial appointments up for Senate confirmation will fill out the same old questionnaire used over the past few years. Senate President Ken Pruitt had been considering a revised questionnaire, a result of a study of such things, proposed by the past senate president.

The proposed new questionnaire included a question asking applicants if they had ever been complained about or investigated for discriminating against or harassing someone based on "sexual orientation," as well as race, origin, gender, age and religion, etc.  It also asked about DUIs.

The Florida Family Association urged its members to protest that question, saying they didn't think sexual orientation-type complaints should be questioned, because Florida Statutes don't consider sexual orientation a protected category.

Pruitt, in consultation with the ethics and elections committee, decided the old form (which a number of applicants to be confirmed had already filled out) worked well enough. Also, Senators can ask any question they want during the confirmation hearing, including any discrimination questions.

"We’ve not had any problems with the form we have used," said Kathy Mears, spokeswoman for the Senate President's Office. Mears also pointed out that gubernatorial candidates are vetted by the Governor's office.

In the meantime, the Florida Family Association sent an email to its members touting victory.

"If this rule of questioning had been approved for the Florida Governor’s administration by a Republican controlled Florida Senate, what could have been next, adding 'sexual orientation' to the Florida Civil Rights Act thereby creating a gay rights law?"

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:25pm]


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