Mike Bennett trashes Pelham, attorney general's office
Mike Bennett, chairman of the Senate committee on community affairs, sniped at the attorney general's office and DCA secretary Tom Pelham today during a discussion of SB360. The Bradenton Republican blamed the attorney general's office for not consulting with lawmakers about the intention of the bill before trying to defend it in court. The law was declared unconstitutional and the case is now on appeal. "Now we have the same guy running the appeal for us," Bennett said. "Isn't that wonderful." Bennett also agreed with Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, who said that the bill faced opposition from local governments largely because they didn't understand it. "People actually panicked about how they would implement these things," Norman said. That might not have happened if there had been better communication between the legislature and local governments, he said. Bennett blamed that on Pelham, who was publicly critical of the bill. "It was an issue," Bennett said. "The secretary of DCA decided he was going to be the spokesperson for it." The game plan going forward, Bennett said, is to file three separate bills this session focusing on growth management, security cameras and affordable housing to address matters covered in SB360 if the state loses its appeal.