Orlando Sentinel by Ana Ceballos News Service of Florida
August 16, 2019
TALLAHASSEE ― Despite public records law, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva and his successor say they don’t consider a heated text-message exchange with an embattled lawmaker to be state-related business.
But Rep. Mike Hill, a Pensacola Republican who this year was chastised by members of his party for his response to a suggestion that gay people be put to death, did and turned over the text messages after a public-records request by The News Service of Florida.
The text messages, first reported by Politico Florida, show Hill got angry after Oliva and future House Speaker Chris Sprowls issued a joint statement condemning his refusal to push back against a constituent’s suggestion that he sponsor legislation to allow the state to execute gay people.
“Such callous indifference to an outrageous question is unacceptable, runs contrary to our founding principles, and in no way reflects the beliefs of the Republican caucus in the Florida House,” Oliva and Sprowls said in a statement May 31.