Florida provides state funded security for visiting politicians and dignitaries, even when they arrive with their own security. Florida has been doing it for years, whether out-of-state politicians -- mostly governors -- come here for business or pleasure.
Last fiscal year, records show it cost state taxpayers nearly $260,000 in FDLE salary -- $294,000 when you add transportation expenditures. The extra protection is required by state law.
"There is no reason for taxpayers pick up any costs for their security detail. There is no need for it," said State Rep. Mike Fasano (R) Pasco. "These are the little things that you find out in statute that don't belong there-- something we need to repeal."
Some visiting politicians get more protection than others. Last year, we paid more than $8,000 for a two day trip for West Virginia's governor. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took five trips that cost more than $18,000.
We showed the costs to several state lawmakers who said the state security policy should be reviewed.
"We need to be concerned about the tax dollars being spent on this security measures," said State Rep. Darryl Rouson (D) St. Petersburg.
But Rouson and State Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D) Orlando also expressed caution. They said security for visiting politicians could be examined and possibly reduced, but not eliminated.
"No one wants anyone harmed on their turf," said Thomson.
Florida's Governor can also request and receive protection from other states. But FDLE does not track keep track of how often that happens, or how much protection Florida's governor gets from other states.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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