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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Haridopolos says he's ready to tee up immigration bill again



Senate President Mike Haridopolos told reporters that the Senate would not only bring up the immigration bill it passed out of its chamber last session 23-16, but it will pass it again. The bill was rejected by the House, however, which wanted a stricter plan.

Gov. Rick Scott and Tea Party activists around the state have said they want to make passage of an immigration bill a top priority of the legislative session that begins Jan. 10. But the vote may be difficult for many legislators running for re-election in 2012. Because of redistricting, they will be forced to run in newly-drawn legislative districts and appeal to constituents they are not accustomed to serving.

Under the Senate bill, police must make “a reasonable effort” to determine the immigration status of people they arrest and jail, a provision that opponents say is aimed at both legal and illegal immigrants. The bill also would require illegal immigrants who are convicted of nonviolent crimes to be referred to federal officials for deportation. The bill did not include a controversial provision that would have required employers to check the immigration status of workers.

Haridopolos said the immigration bill, as with other bills that passed the Senate but not the House last session, will be given a fast-track approval "to get it to the floor and over to the House.''

"The House has talked very tough on immigration,'' he said. "We have a bill that is very tough on illegal immigration. It’s in the House’s court. If they want to do somethingm we’re poised and ready."

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 4:27pm]


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