Should an opportunity present itself in Washington, D.C., Rep. Joe Gruters said he did not know whether he would leave his post in the Florida Legislature to go work for President Donald Trump.
“There may be some opportunities available,” Gruters, R-Sarasota, said Friday morning. “Right now, I am focused in serving the Legislature.”
When asked whether he was headed to go work for Trump, the man for whom he served as Florida campaign co-chair, Gruters said, “You never know,” adding that he hasn’t made a decision but there could be opportunities.
While the future of Gruters, who was elected to the Florida House District 73 seat in November, is unclear, he has already gotten to work up Tallahassee, filling two bills. His district includes Lakewood Ranch, Parrish and other parts of East Manatee
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“My big point is I ran as a conservative and I am going to legislate as a conservative,” Gruters said. “I am going to legislate as a strong conservative up in Tallahassee on their behalf, which I think is representative of the community overall and my district.”
One of the bills is HB 203, or Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, when unborn children can feel pain.
Gruters said to be able to start his legislative career with a bill such as is this is significant.
“To me throughout my life, I have always been a big believer in protecting life from conception to natural death,” he said. “For me, it’s very significant.”
The bill “prohibits abortion of unborn child capable of feeling pain, provides parameters for making such determination, requires physicians to report abortion information to DOH (Department of Health),” among other things, according to the Florida House website.
Gruters was confident that the bill would become law. According to the Florida House website, it would become effective July 1.
“We have a very conservative House and Senate,” he said. “We have a conservative, pro-life governor. I expect to run this through the process and sign into law. I am going to do everything I can to make sure that happens.”
Following the lead of Trump’s campaign promises, Gruters said he is also working on an American Workers First bill, which would “require all businesses to use E-Verify to confirm the working status of their workers and employees.”
According to Gruters, Florida is the only state in the Southeast that has not implemented mandatory E-Verify.
“Protecting life and protecting American workers to me should show community it backs up my campaign promises,” he said. “I’m not filling legislation that I don’t think has a chance to pass.”