Sen. Frank Artiles apologizes for using racial slurs
The majority of former Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles’ legislative agenda was killed Monday, because few other senators wanted to keep advocating for his bills in the five remaining days of the 2017 session.
After Artiles abruptly resigned from the Senate on April 21 in the wake of scandal, his 36 bills fell to his co-sponsors for them to handle, if they chose to.
Only five senators did that — salvaging only 11 of those bills.
Among the rest, 20 of Artiles’ pending bills were pulled Monday from getting any further consideration, including one of his top priorities — a measure that would require Miami-Dade residents to elect a county sheriff, a job Artiles was said to have had his eye on.
Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said Senate rules dictate that after Artiles resigned, “a co-sponsor has seven days to transfer the bill to his or her name. If the bills are not transferred, they are withdrawn from consideration.”
The three dozen bills Artiles filed this session included one that failed in committee and sought to repeal the use of red-light cameras, as well as a variety of measures like the sheriff’s one, which affect how Miami-Dade County officials are elected versus appointed.
Artiles resigned 10 days ago after a firestorm brought on several days earlier when Artiles insulted a fellow lawmaker and used a racial slur to describe several other senators in an alcohol-laced tirade at a private Tallahassee bar.
Betta told the Herald/Times that 11 of Artiles’ bills had been transferred to another senator for them to sponsor in his absence. Artiles is no longer associated with those bills on the Senate website, as if he’d never filed them in the first place.
Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube took over six of Artiles’ bills. Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry is now sponsoring two, and the remaining three were taken up — one each — by Bradenton Republican Bill Galvano, Vero Beach Republican Debbie Mayfield and Sebring Republican Denise Grimsley. (See the list below.)
Many of Artiles’ bills were already all-but dead because they either weren’t considered at all or hadn’t cleared all of their committees in time to reach the floor.
One of his bills — SB 174, dealing with the Agency for State Technology — passed the Senate floor in mid-March and remains alive, waiting to be taken up by the House.
Artiles’ legislative staff has remained in place to handle constituent services for District 40. Gov. Rick Scott has not yet called a special election to fill the vacancy.
Artiles bills still in play
Of the 36 bills Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles had filed this session, 20 were withdrawn from Senate consideration on Monday, because no other senator wanted to carry them in his absence. Of the rest, three bills were withdrawn before session began, one was set aside after it was rejected by a committee, and another passed the Senate and is ready for consideration by the House.
The following senators took over the remaining Artiles bills after he resigned:
▪ Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton: SB 842, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/All Aboard Florida
▪ Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring: SB 1550, health information technology
▪ Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach: SB 1310, soliciting state employees
▪ Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota: Senate bills 12, 14, claims bills; 230, invasive species; 282, towing and storage fees; 1040, malt beverage glassware, and 1108, public records exemption for former firefighters, their spouses and children
Source: Florida Senate