Pinellas lawmakers rally for Tierra Verde bill
Pinellas legislators called an emergency meeting Thursday to reassure a House committee chairman that the delegation strongly supports a bill that would retroactively nullify St. Petersburg's annexation of a marina and surrounding land in the Tierra Verde community. Lawmakers met with Rep. Dave Murzin, the Pensacola Republican who chairs a House council scheduled to hear the bill Friday.
"I need a comfort level from you guys," Murzin said as he faced a group of seven Pinellas House members (no senators attended but four senators signed letters of support for the bill).
Only Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, objected to the bill moving forward. He said a county lawsuit challenging the city's partial annexation of an unincorporated area should proceed without interference by the Legislature. But the sponsor of the bill (HB 1375), Rep. Jim Frishe, said the annexation was poorly conducted by the city.
"They rushed it. They screwed it up," Frishe said. The bill will be considered at a hearing at 8 a.m. Friday.
Attorneys Fred Dudley and Martha Barnett, representing the Tierra Verde Community Association, also attended the brief meeting in the House speaker's conference room.
-- Steve Bousquet