Latvala's 'breaking arms' comment irks Haridopolos
During a lengthy floor debate on prison privatization Monday, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, wanted to know why Senate leaders are so aggressively pushing the project if, as some believe, Gov. Rick Scott can privatize prisons by himself.
"Why are we here doing this now?" Latvala asked Sen. JD Alexander. "I mean, in other words, if the governor has the authority to do it within current statutes, why are we breaking arms to get it done?"
Before Alexander could answer, Senate President Mike Haridopolos quickly interjected: "Senator Latvala, I'd like you to refrain from that question, because that's not accurate."
"I'm sorry," Latvala said. "That was meant as kind of a joke. Why are we pushing so hard?"
"There you go," Haridopolos said. "Thank you." Said Alexander: "My arms are still working pretty good, Senator. I've certainly not broken any arms or twisted anyone to do anything other than what they believe is right."
Latvala was picking up on statements last week by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, who asserted that Scott can privatize prisons on his own authority. He can, but under certain conditions, one of which is a specific appropriation by the Legislature for a privatization contract (see Chapter 944.105 in the Florida Statutes).
Haridopolos told reporters he has never pressured or intimidated senators into supporting prison privatization. "I don't twist arms," he said.