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COMPLAINT CHALLENGES COMMITTEE SHUFFLING

Comparing House Speaker Larry Cretul to a dictator, a Miami state representative Wednesday filed a formal complaint alleging that his fellow Republican broke House rules by reshuffling committees without a vote of the full chamber.

Rep. J.C. Planas acknowledges that his complaint is rare, ultra-wonky and unpopular with some fellow Republicans. But he said someone needed to stand up and stop current and future leaders of the House from acting like strongmen.

"The fact that Hugo Chavez in Venezuela reshuffles the legislative deck so he can get his items passed is something that's bad enough," Planas said. "But the fact that the members of a committee can be shuffled this way in Tallahassee, Fla., should be completely unacceptable."

Cretul's spokeswoman, Jill Chamberlin, said the speaker had no comment on Planas' allegations or his complaint.

At issue: Cretul's Aug. 24 announcement that he would eliminate some committees, including a major budget council and a committee upon which Planas sits.

"While some people who lost committees are understandably upset, I'm convinced Speaker Cretul acted within the rules," said Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

Planas, a candidate for Miami-Dade circuit judge, said he's not taking revenge on the speaker. He says he's trying to make sure that the rules are followed.

Planas said he wants a full vote of the House to approve the new committee structure.

Marc Caputo can be reached at mcaputo@miamiherald.com.

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