Sen. Latvala removed as budget chair amid harassment allegations

Republican state senator Jack Latvala is entering the race for governor.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Republican Senator Jack Latvala of Clearwater was removed from his position as budget chairman Monday amid allegations that he harassed and groped women.

A notice sent to State Senators says Senate President Joe Negron believed it was in the best interest of the Senate to have another Senator fill that position temporarily.

“Senator Latvala’s other responsibilities in the Senate will remain unchanged,” Sen. Negron wrote.

Negron replaced Latvala with Sen. Rob Bradley.

On Friday, Politico reported six women who work in the Florida Capitol accused Sen. Latvala of sexual misconduct.

Latvala later hit back at the report, calling Politico “fake news” and the article a smear campaign.

Negron says the independent third-party investigation into the allegations is pending.

According to the Associated Press, Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that Latvala should step down from office if the allegations against him are true.

Latvala is also in the race to become Florida’s next governor.