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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Legislators are as legislators do



Lucy Morgan's column:

Something strange comes over state legislators when they gather inside the Capitol. It's like everyone's IQ drops below room temperature — and in a building that is always colder than necessary lest someone break into a sweat — this is a dramatic drop.

It gets worse when a grand jury takes aim at them. This month, a Leon County Grand Jury indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom for official misconduct — accusing him of falsifying a budget record so he could slip $6 million into the state budget to build an airplane hangar for a friend and contributor.

Sansom says he'll be vindicated. And yes, he is innocent until proven guilty. But the grand jury went a lot further and essentially indicted the entire Legislature for the way lawmakers cloak the budget process in secret and slip last-minute appropriations into the spending plan long after all the public meetings are over.

"That's the way it works,'' explained Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, as he defended Sansom's budgetary prowess. (more here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 5:56pm]


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