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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Immigration bill heads to House floor



After two hours of debate and passionate public testimony -- almost entirely in opposition -- the Florida House Economic Affairs Committee voted 11-7 to advance a controversial bill cracking down on illegal immigration.

Several members broke party lines in the vote. Miami Republican Reps. Jeanette Nuñez and Frank Artiles voted against the bill; Democratic Rep. Joseph Abruzzo of Wellington voted for it.

The measure now moves to the floor of the chamber. A similar proposal stalled in the Senate on Wednesday. It was due to be heard in a budget committee but pushed back until after next week's Passover and Easter holidays.

Rep. William Snyder, the Stuart Republican who sponsored the bill, closed by telling the multitude of largely Hispanic members of the audience that he understood their fears that the legislation would lead to racial profiling. "I get that," he said.

But he countered that his bill would not do that. And a majority of the committee appeared to agree with him.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:27am]


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