Florida House Passes Bill to Ban 'Sanctuary Cities'
Florida House of Representatives voted in favor of new legislation
The Florida House of Representatives has passed a bill to ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in the state.
On Wednesday, the Republican-led House voted 69-47 in favor of a bill banning the designation of "sanctuary" status to areas that offer a safe haven for illegal immigrants.
The new legislation would mandate local law enforcement coordinate with federal authorities in identifying and apprehending illegal immigrants.
There are currently no sanctuary cities in the state but the bill aims to ban any from forming in the future.
According to the Washington Examiner, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signaled support for such legislation in the past and a similar bill is in the state Senate, which is also Republican-controlled and has a 23-17 majority.
If cities decide to adopt a sanctuary city policy, local governments would be fined $5,000 every day that the offending city has the policy in place.
After the bill’s Wednesday passage, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement condemning the legislation and warning people not to travel to Florida if it becomes law.
“It would also put immigrants at risk of violence, potentially forcing victims and witnesses to stay silent for fear of deportation,” the group said.
The bill’s sponsor and chairman of the state Republican Party, state Sen. Joe Gruters, has made the matter a priority for this legislative session and hoped to get a law on the books by the end of the year.
“I’m glad to be the catalyst to help this happen,” Gruters said Tuesday.
“And we have Ron DeSantis, our governor, who has made this a priority.
"That’s why this is moving forward.”
This week, the Florida state Senate also approved a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms in schools.
The bill passed with a majority vote and proposes to arm teachers on school grounds if local school boards agree to allow staffers to carry their firearms.
The Senate voted 22-17 to approve the bill, setting it up a vote in the state House.
Local school boards and charter school governing boards would still have to vote on whether or not they would authorize teachers to be armed on their individual campuses, should the legislation be signed into law.
Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed support for allowing teachers to carry firearms in schools.
Teachers would be armed on a voluntary basis and would have to undergo a psychological test and at least 144 hours of training before taking a weapon into a school.