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Florida House Democrats, Fearing Backlash, Put Off Vote on Purging Moderates

June 13, 2013 - 6:00pm

Sources tell Sunshine State News that, as of Friday evening, the state's Democratic representatives had still not received the final draft proposal of rule changes. Earlier this week, Reps. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, and Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, told SSN that House members should expect to receive the rules no later than Friday, the day before the start of the annual Jefferson-Jackson Gala, which begins Saturday.

According to the same sources, what was expected to be a vote Saturday on any final new rules package will instead be a discussion of several proposals, which no vote expected to be taken.

SSN reported Monday thatWaldman, who is leading a committee of five House Democrats looking to rewrite caucus rules, has proposed a measure that would require Democratic members to vote in accordance with official caucus positions, and impose penalties if they vote against those stances without receiving the necessary dispensations from House Democratic leadership. Those penalties could include expulsion from the caucus.

While no legislator would come right out and criticize the proposal, several of the Florida House's most notable moderate Democrats -- all of them freshmen -- have wondered aloud whether such a rule is even necessary.

And the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) wasted little time denouncing House Democrats for theirnewfoundaversion to diversity.

"First, Florida Democrats are suppressing their only announced gubernatorial candidate, Nan Rich, from speaking at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner over the objections from their liberal activist base. Now, Florida Democrats are trying to suppress Democratic legislators from voting with Republicans on common-sense legislation," RPOF chairman Lenny Curry said in a press release Wednesday. "Would Waldman 'punish' the 47 Democrats who voted for Governor Scott's budget? Would Charlie Crist be expelled from Jim Waldman's Democratic caucus? And why are liberals comfortable with snubbing legislators who vote their conscience when they are uncomfortable with Allison Tant snubbing Nan Rich?"

Reach Eric Giunta at or at 954-235-9116.

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