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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House member slams fellow Republican over 'inappropriate tactics'



Rep. Mike Horner of  Kissimmee says he doesn’t like to make big speeches. But he took a few moments Wednesday to hammer fellow Republican Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz, a first-year representative from Destin, had proposed an amendment to Horner’s bill on the state-mandated no-fault auto insurance called Personal Injury Protection or PIP.

The amendment deleted Horner’s wording and replaced it what Gaetz said was more consumer-friendly language. Most significantly, Gaetz had removed provisions that limited payouts to attorneys who handle PIP cases.

Horner told the House subcommittee on civil justice that Gaetz had just taken the elements of another PIP bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Boyd of Bradenton and put it on top of Horner’s legislation.

“How would you feel if on your bill somebody came along and hijacked your stuff and put it on somebody else’s bill in an effort to kill that bill? Have the courage, have the honesty, if you don’t support this bill, vote it down,” Horner said. “To try to do something this disingenuous, to try to put good language on top of this bill and say 'Hey, I’m just trying to do PIP reform,' members that is not the way I do business. And I hope you will support me against these kinds of inappropriate tactics.”

Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, came to Horner’s defense and asked the acting committee chairman, Rep. Clay Ford, to find that the amendment was not “germane” to the bill and should not be considered.

Gaetz said the amendment should be considered and that Hager was simply trying to kill his amendment.

“Rep. Horner, you’re my good friend and I apologize if you think my efforts weren’t genuine,” he said. “But with all respect what’s disingenuous is to bring a point of order on an amendment that clearly will pass if there’s an opportunity for the amendment to be voted on.”

Ford, a Pensacola Republican, ruled that Gaetz’s amendment was unrelated to the bill and would not be considered, prompting Democrat Marty Kiar of Parkland to say he planned to appeal that ruling to House Speaker Dean Cannon.

Horner’s bill passed along party lines, except for Gaetz. Some Republicans expressed concerns over a provision, however, that would allow insurance companies to demand arbitration.

The bill has two more committee stops to go before it hits the House floor.

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:58pm]


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