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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Gaetz will vote 'no' on immunity legislation



Sen. Don Gaetz, the incoming Senate President, said he will not vote in favor of a proposal making its way through the House that clarifies that legislators have immunity from lawsuits.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved HB 7123, which says legislators, former legislators, and their staffs don't have to testify or turn over documents.

Gaetz, in a letter released Monday, said he would not vote in favor of the legislation if it were sent to the Senate for consideration because the issue of immunity had been politicized by people challenging reapportionment. His statement holds hefty weight because he is in leadership. Gaetz, R-Niceville, wrote that he is prepared to defend the Senate's redistricting process in court.

"Florida’s newly enacted congressional and legislative districts have been subjected to prolonged public scrutiny like never before," Gaetz wrote. "They likely will be subject to more litigation than ever before. As Chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee, I do not want to chance even an appearance that the Legislature is not fully willing and able to explain our plans to any court of competent jurisdiction."

[Last modified: Monday, February 20, 2012 3:45pm]


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