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Special session convenes today to address issues including the Statewide Prosecutor’s authority to investigate election crimes

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Florida CapitolFlorida lawmakers will convene a two-week special session on Monday to address several issues, including a measure to “clarify” the Statewide Prosecutor’s authority to investigate election crimes.

“In coordination with the governor’s office and the Florida Senate, we have identified several issues that warrant our attention in advance of the 2023 regular session,” House Speaker Paul Renner said in an announcement released late Friday afternoon.

The Palm Coast Republican identified key issues he wants lawmakers to consider, including hurricane recovery, the “voluntary transport of unauthorized migrants,” college athlete compensation, and the state’s recent takeover of a former Disney development district, a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin, a Miami Republican who chairs the Ethics, Elections, and Open Government Subcommittee, will sponsor the Statewide Prosecutor proposal, Renner said.

Last year, at DeSantis’ direction, lawmakers created the Office of Elections Crimes and Security, Renner noted. While the Florida Constitution gives the Statewide Prosecutor jurisdiction with state attorneys to investigate multi-jurisdictional crimes, “state law generally provides the office with the ability to prosecute election crimes,” Renner said. “The legislation will clarify the Office of Statewide Prosecution’s jurisdiction to prosecute crimes involving elections for federal or state offices, and petition activities,” he said.

Renner said he intends to refer the bill to the Judiciary Committee.

Renner asked lawmakers to return to Tallahassee by noon on Monday.

The special session will be held while lawmakers are already in Tallahassee for interim committee weeks.

The regular, 60-day legislative session convenes March 7.

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