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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

John Romano column: Tale of Two Term Limits in Florida Senate



In the final days of a lawmaker's tenure, there are usually congratulatory farewells.

Maybe a small token of appreciation and a day's worth of handshakes and hugs. In the case of an outgoing Senate president, there is even a portrait for posterity.

But the best gift of all for a legislator facing a term limit is this:


The freedom to ignore committee assignments, party lines, forthcoming elections and lobbyists in the hall. The freedom to vote without constantly looking over your shoulder.

So what does that mean in real terms?

Consider the situations of Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales. They began this legislative session with much in common. Same chamber. Same party. Same end-of-the-line outlook.

Fasano saw it as a chance to vote his conscience. Forget the politics. Forget the wishes of his party's leadership. He would vote on bills based on their merits alone. No quid pro quo. No worrying about how it might play in the governor's office.

Alexander saw it as a chance to bulldoze ahead with his agenda. Forget how much it would cost the taxpayers. Forget how it looked to outsiders. He was going to get his university, and he was going to get his toll road. No compromise. No neutrality.

Call it a Tale of Two Term Limits.

Column here.

[Last modified: Sunday, March 11, 2012 10:47am]


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