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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott's 'No-Fasano Zone' now includes all staffers



The governor's office has expanded its No-Fasano zone. Spokesman Brian Burgess confirms that all employees who work for Gov. Rick Scott have been ordered not to appear before the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, headed by Republican Mike Fasano of New Port Richey.

Fasano's panel is no slouch. It oversees billions of dollars in state spending on prisons, juvenile justice, law enforcement and public safety and will be a focal point for discussions over Scott's plans to revamp the correctional and juvenile justice agencies. It's highly unusual for a governor to boycott a committee of the Legislature, but Scott's people were perturbed by Fasano's aggressive questioning of Scott budget aide Bonnie Rogers at a committee hearing last week.

Fasano, who opposes the prison-system overhaul because it would cost some guards their jobs, texted a reporter Wednesday: "Looks like DOC and DJJ Secretary are boycotting our meeting this am. My staff was told they would attend but as of now no sign of either of them. Very disappointing."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections confirmed that Scott has asked employees not to appear before Fasano's committee. The Senate budget chief, JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said Fasano owes the governor's office an apology. 

"If feelings were hurt, it was never intended to be that way," Fasano said. "I have a responsibility as a state senator to represent my constituents and ask tough questions."

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 11:19am]


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