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Millions in Minority Outreach Gone to Waste?

Rick Scott’s Hispanic Voter Fumble 

Tallahassee – HB 235 had the support of Republicans and Democrats — the bill letting legal immigrants obtain driver’s licenses was as close to universally popular as legislation gets in Florida. Rick Scott’s Tuesday afternoon veto angered the Hispanic community and may have dealt a devastating blow to the GOP’s nascent efforts to increase minority outreach.



Florida Governor’s Immigration Veto Predicted to Set Off ‘Anti-Hispanic Bomb’ [National Journal] “Risking a Hispanic backlash in favor of his conservative base, Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday rebuked President Obama’s immigration policy by vetoing a bill intended to help children of illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses… The bill quietly sailed through the Republican-controlled Legislature without the governor’s office raising any objections, sponsors said…The last-minute block and tackle suggests Scott’s sensitivity toward conservative activists, who were aghast when the onetime crusader against Obama’s health care law embraced in February the administration’s proposed expansion of Medicaid…Scott’s veto also highlights the Republican Party’s struggle to boost its appeal within the fast-growing Hispanic community. The bill’s sponsors said the governor’s veto flies in the face of the millions of dollars the Republican Party is allocating to minority outreach and candidate recruitment.”

Scott steps into immigration debate with veto [Palm Beach Post] “Rick Scott vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have allowed children of undocumented immigrants to get Florida drivers’ licenses, a move likely to rattle the governor’s support within the state’s Hispanic community while bolstering his backing from conservative groups…The House approved the bill this spring 115-2; the Senate 36-0, a sign to many that Florida Republicans were looking to distance themselves from the hardline themes of the 2012 elections…Florida Democrats lashed out at Scott. ‘Rick Scott continues to alienate and discriminate against thousands of undocumented immigrants,’ said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Joshua Karp. ‘Instead of joining the legislature’s near-unanimous consensus around HB 235, Gov. Scott imposed his rigid ideology on Floridians — to the detriment of the young immigrants who are Florida’s future.'”

Gov. Scott vetoes immigrant driver license bill [AP] “Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have allowed some young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to apply for a temporary driver’s license. Scott, a Republican whose maverick campaign for governor was aided by his tough stance on immigration, vetoed the legislation even though it had been overwhelmingly passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature...One of the Democratic sponsors of the bill contended Scott’s decision to veto the bill could trigger a backlash in a state with a significant number of Hispanic voters…Scott’s veto quickly came under fire, especially from Democrats, who said it could have helped young immigrants who need a driver’s license in order to get a job. ‘I view this as an anti-Hispanic veto,’ said Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando and one of the sponsors of the bill. ‘This strikes me as very political.’ 



 A partisan Scott veto on licenses [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] “Once again, Gov. Rick Scott has refused to accept public policy established by the Obama administration that benefits Florida. And once again, the state will suffer because of his partisan gamesmanship. The Republican governor’s veto of legislation that would have allowed undocumented immigrants with a new temporary status to obtain a driver’s license ignores reality and common sense…Scott vetoed the bill and resorted to tortured logic…Yet Scott could not embrace one more step to help tens of thousands of young undocumented immigrants. His veto indicates he remains as out of touch as ever with the practical realities in the neighborhoods of Florida’s melting pot.”

Scott vetoes immigrant driver’s license bill [News Service of Florida] “Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed a bill intended to help young undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses, saying a White House policy linked to the measure was never approved by Congress. Sen. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, called the veto a missed opportunity for the governor to help foreigners who come to Florida and expects the rejection to be seen as ‘anti-Hispanic’ at a time when the Republican Party has sought to boost its appeal among minorities. ‘It’s hard for people to realize the America dream if you don’t have a driver license and most jobs require you to commute, so I think it’s more than symbolic,’ Soto said. ‘It’s something that is needed in America to succeed.’..The Florida Democratic Party, in issuing a release saying Scott ‘continues to alienate and discriminate,’ estimated that the bill would have impacted more than 100,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida.”

Hispanic leaders upset over Scott’s license veto [AP] “Hispanic leaders and politicians were angered and disappointed Wednesday over Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to veto a bill that would have allowed some young unauthorized immigrants to receive a temporary driver’s license. Scott vetoed a bill Tuesday passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature that would have let applicants use their notice of approval for the Obama administration’s “deferred action” policy to obtain a temporary driver’s license. ‘It’s just common sense that we should do this,’ Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, a co-sponsor of the bill said…Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, called Scott’s veto short-sited. ‘This extreme stance also goes against the will of the state Senate, and undermines values of democratic process, fairness and opportunity,’ she said. The bill had passed overwhelmingly in the legislature.”

Democrats pounce on Scott’s Dreamers veto as a ‘step backwards’ on immigration reform [Miami Herald] “Florida Democrats have seized on an opening Gov. Rick Scott has given them to make some noise about the governor’s rocky relations with the Hispanic community. The governor on Tuesday vetoed a non-controversial bill passed with near unanimous support by the Republican-controlled House and Senate that would have helped children of illegal immigrants who attend school in Florida obtain temporary driver’s licenses…’Now dreamers in Florida with no criminal history will have work permits but won’t be able to drive to school or to work – that is nonsense,’ said Rep. José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami Beach in a statement. ‘Today our governor showed us that he lacks the courage to confront the most extreme elements in his party that seek to marginalize immigrants, particularly Hispanic immigrants.'”

Florida Dems continue to bring heat on Scott over driver’s license veto [Palm Beach Post] “Florida Democrats continued Wednesday to bring the heat on Gov. Rick Scott for vetoing legislation aimed at making it easier for children of undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses. Several Orlando-area House and Senate Democrats gathered outside the county courthouse to blast the Republican governor for what they see as a backward step on immigration. ‘This bill would have helped the diverse communities of Central Florida,’ said Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando. ‘The governor missed an opportunity to embrace the Floridians of today.’ Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, also said that Scott’s action was in sharp contrast to the approach of the Obama administration with its support for the so-called Dream Act aimed at creating an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented residents.”


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