Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

How the Legislature voted on the teacher tenure bill

Eighth and last in a series of columns on key votes taken by the Florida Legislature since the last election.

Whew! Today we come to the end of our review of some the Legislature's most controversial votes over the past two years. Next Sunday we'll sum everything up.

Without a doubt, the biggest issue of the Legislature's 2010 session was Senate Bill 6, which abolished tenure for public schoolteachers in Florida and linked teacher evaluations to student scores on standardized tests.

I would like to point out that this dramatic, sweeping, even radical reform of the entire Florida educational system came only after careful deliberation …

In-depth study …

And mature discussion, with important input from all parties.

I would like to be able to say all that.

Instead, SB 6 was rammed through the Legislature on the fly just a few weeks after it first saw the light of day, with no changes or meaningful interaction allowed.

It was, in short, a triumph of ideology, sloganeering and snap judgment.

After all, we all "know" what's wrong with public education. Let's stick it to those rotten teachers, but good.

SB 6 was the creation of state Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, who, not coincidentally, is the chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

In the House, the sponsor was our own state Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey.

The whole thing was so much of a rush job that the actual tests, the specific method of evaluating teachers, were left undefined. We were going to come up with that part later.

It was too much even for some of the Republicans who hold the majority in the Legislature, and several Republican legislators defected to join the Democrats in opposition.

The vote therefore was unusually close: in the Senate, 21-17; in the House, 64-55. The House imposed a "no amendment" rule to make sure the bill passed intact, so as not to risk further changes or opposition in a Senate revote.

The bill then landed in the lap of Gov. Charlie Crist, and the whole Florida political establishment held its breath waiting for his decision.

Crist vetoed it.

He compared the way SB 6 was rammed through the Legislature with the way that "Obamacare" health reform was rammed through Congress by Democrats.

Crist's decision to veto the crowning achievement of the Republican Legislature (not to mention a bill that was the heart's desire of former Gov. Jeb Bush) contributed to Crist's final break with the Republican Party, and his decision to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent. Although many teachers at the time said they would vote for Crist, today he is still trailing in the polls.

As for the supporters of SB 6, they say the issue is not going away.

Here's how the lawmakers of the Tampa Bay area voted on the bill:

Senators voting yes:

Victor Crist, R-Tampa; Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey; Ronda Storms, R-Brandon.

Senators voting no:

Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland; Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island; Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa; Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg.

Area House members voting yes:

Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa; Tom Anderson, R-Dunedin; Rachel Burgin, R-Tampa; Jim Frishe, R-Belleair Bluffs; Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City; Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater; John Legg, R-New Port Richey; Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland; Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton; Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

House members voting no:

Janet Cruz, D-Tampa; Faye Culp, R-Tampa; Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg; Ed Homan, R-Tampa; Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg; Janet Long, D-Seminole; Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs; Betty Reed, D-Tampa; Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg; Ron Schultz, R-Homosassa.

How the Legislature voted on the teacher tenure bill 10/16/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 16, 2010 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Actor John Heard dies at age 72


    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.

  2. Linkin Park cancel tour, including Tampa concert, after death of singer Chester Bennington


    This news is not a surprise, but it is now official: Linkin Park has canceled their upcoming North American tour following this week's death of singer Chester Bennington.

    Linkin Park's Chester Bennington
  3. Nurse backs Kriseman in St. Pete mayor's race


    Council member Karl Nurse has endorsed Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman, left, is seen with Karl Nurse in the combination of two images.
  4. Spring Hill woman, 24, dies when car hits tree in Pasco County


    LAND O' LAKES — A 24-year-old woman died early Saturday morning after her Hyundai Elantra hit a tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Florida Insiders: We'll find out soon whether Adam Putnam has a glass jaw


    This month's Florida Insider Poll questions: Who would be the strongest Democratic/Republican nominee for governor? Whom do you expect will win the Democratic/Republican gubernatorial nomination? Which party …

    Florida Insider polls are unscientific surveys of Florida political operatives, money-raisers, lobbyists, political scientists, recovering journalists, activists, and the like