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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Scott's top lawyer will handle issue of lawmakers' residences



Gov. Rick Scott said Friday he has directed his top lawyer, Pete Antonacci, to meet with the Legislature's top attorney to decide how to proceed with an influential lawmaker's request for a criminal investigation of several state legislators.

Scott told Antonacci to meet with Senate counsel George Levesque and House counsel Daniel Nordby in response to a letter from Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

"Sen. Latvala's letter raises serious concerns," Scott said.

Latvala sent letters to Scott and legislative leaders, formally requesting an FDLE investigation of allegations that some lawmakers don't live in the districts they represent.

Latvala's July 11 letters note that he was basing his requests on news reports on WPLG-TV Channel 10 in Miami. But if the allegations are true, he said, it means lawmakers have committed third-degree felonies by falsely swearing under penalty of perjury that they are "duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state."

"This takes it into the criminal realm of a criminal act, in my book," said Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who chairs the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. "I'm tired of winking and nodding. This is an affront to the Constitution of the state of Florida."

All of the legislators cited by Channel 10 represent districts in Broward County and all are Democrats. The next move is up to the governor.


[Last modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 3:24pm]


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