Winner and loser of the week in Fla politics
Winner of the week: Tampa Bay-style independence. Look at the Republican state senators who often halted and softened legislation pushed by leadership in the last session, and you can see the independent streak — not always moderate, just independent-minded. Except for Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami and Thad Altman of Melbourne, every other Republican member breaking ranks on occasional big issues has a district at least partly in Tampa Bay: Paula Dockery of Lakeland, Mike Fasano of New Port Richey, Jack Latvala of Clearwater, Dennis Jones of Treasure Island, Jim Norman of Tampa, JD Alexander of Lake Wales and Nancy Detert of Venice. Whether or not you agreed with them in many cases, they showed backbone. And effectiveness.
Loser of the week: Florida League of Women Voters. After more than seven decades of registering voters in Florida, the civic group is halting the practice. Why? Because a Legislature that loathes government regulations imposed a slew of onerous regulations on voter registration groups.