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Manny Diaz Jr. files bill to rein in state-funded litigation

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Republican Rep. Manny Diaz of Hialeah Gardens has filed a bill that would prevent entities who receive funding from Florida’s government from suing the state using those taxpayer dollars.

The Hialeah Gardens Republican says that he is not seeking to limit access to the courts for these organizations, but rather simply seeking a commonsense accountability measure.

“It is illogical that taxpayers can foot the bill when an organization sues the state.” said Diaz in a statement on Wednesday. “We need to hold all groups accountable: fiscally and ethically.”

A separate provision of the bill would require that any group receiving more than a quarter of its annual revenue from state-funded sources must annually submit all revenue, salaries and benefits of its employees and officers, litigation expenses, and description of  its political activity.

Diaz’s bill, HB 549, is matched by Lakeland Sen. Kelli Stargel‘s SB 1114. Though the language is not yet identical, the pair of lawmakers has indicated their desire to make the bills comport with one another during the legislative process.

The House version has been referred to the Government Operations SubcommitteeAppropriations and State Affairs. Stargel’s bill has yet to receive committees of reference.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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