Lawmakers OK National Guard troop money for RNC
The Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Thursday approved spending $2.3 million in federal money by the Department of Military Affairs, which will allow the state to dispatch 1,750 Florida National Guard troops to Tampa for the Republican National Convention.
Every four years, Congress appropriates up to $50 million for security at both conventions, and Thursday's action involves some of that money. Among the troops to be activated for RNC duty are those assigned to Pinellas Park.
The proposal said in part: "The National Guard was asked to support local law enforcement with security and response to civil disturbance in various locations surrounding and within downtown Tampa from Aug. 27-30, 2012. The Florida National Guard will also prepare to respond with additional security forced in the event that they are required by local law enforcement ... The city of Tampa is provided federal funds to support necessary security and other expenditures related to the convention."
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, chairman of the bipartisan, 14-member JLBC, said of the unanimous vote: "That's just allowing the money to come in to be used to deploy some of our National Guard folks. To me, it's a non-partisan issue, to make sure our citizens are safe and visitors are safe, whoever's convention it happened to be."