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Patronis corrects the record: He is not sponsoring gift ban bill

Rep. Jimmy Patronis is not sponsoring a bill to repeal the gift ban legislation proposed by Sen. Dennis Jones as was first reported in  The Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times. Patronis said the restaurant industry talked to him about sponsoring it but he never agreed to it.

Jones, R-Seminole, filed the bill this year, his last term in office, because he believes it has had a destructive effect on the ability of constituents to meet with their legislators. Patronis, a Panama City restaurateur, said that he sympathizes with the Tallahassee restaurant industry who say the ban on anyone buying legislator a dinner or a cup of coffee has had an adverse impact on their business. Patronis's decision not to co-sponsor the bill leaves Jones without a sponsor in the House.


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The member in the house who should co-sponsor the bill is none other than Ron Saunders, the Democratic minority leader. He has been around long enough to know that legislators did not sell their votes for cups of coffee, or a couple of beers, or a steak dinner. The silly little ban on gifts, while huge sums of money can be given to the parties or to special committees, is just stupid.

Peter Butzin

I couldn't disagree more with whasup's position.

Public office is a public trust. If I can have a politician's ear by picking up the check, that steak dinner is buying access.

Sure, the mother lode of access buying, if not outright bribery, comes in the form of political donations and so-called "independent" expenditures by corporations.

But I see the gift ban as a first step in the fight against political corruption. It's one that every Floridian should support.

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