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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tension in the House

Crotzer Rep. Priscilla Taylor, D-West Palm Beach, tried to remove an amendment to the Martin Lee Anderson claims bill that would also compensate Alan Crotzer, the wrongfully convicted St. Petersburg man.

Keeping the two together could have caused trouble in the Senate, which has already passed the $4.8-million Anderson claim and has signaled opposition to the Crotzer award. But some Democrats and others wanted to test the Senate's resolve.

Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, fought to keep the two linked. The surprise move sent the Democratic Caucus into a frenzy, with members huddling in the back of the chamber. After a few minutes, with Bogdanoff's insistence, they decided to let it pass as amended.

"We've got one shot," Miami Democrat Rep. T. Holloway said, urging others to lay down. "My neck is out on this one."

Senate President Ken Pruitt has already said that the Crotzer award would not be considered, re-stating that position this morning. Crotzer, who spent more than 24 years in prison before being freed by DNA evidence, was due to receive $1.25-million. The parents of 14-year-old Anderson, who died after a rough encounter with guards at the Bay County boot camp, would get $4.8-million. They have already gotten $2.4-million from Bay County.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:46pm]


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