First in a series of columns on key votes taken by the Florida Legislature since the last election.
In case you missed it, the battle for the soul and future of Florida was waged during the 2009 session of our state Legislature.
After 25 years of at least pretending that this state is "managing" its growth, the Legislature instead voted to repeal a key part of our growth law.
Senate Bill 360 declared that Florida developers would no longer have to pay for the impact of their growth on roads and traffic.
The backers called it a "jobs bill" and said Florida had to do something, anything, to crawl out of the recession. They said the looser rules would encourage "infill" in urban areas, so it was a good "anti-sprawl" bill, too.
But SB 360 reversed a quarter-century of growth management policy in Florida and threw the state back open to y'all-come, anything-goes development. Only the economy has kept us from feeling the full effects to date. Once things get better — whoa, Nellie.
SB 360 created "exception areas" around the state where the old rules no longer apply. But the terms are drawn so broadly as to be meaningless — a "dense urban land area" in the law, for example, means anything more than about one person per acre. Most cities and all counties of any size are affected.
The Legislature did promise to come back later to replace the old costs to developers with some new creation called a "mobility fee." It hasn't quite gotten around to it yet, though.
The Audubon Society asked Gov. Charlie Crist to veto SB 360.
The 1000 Friends of Florida asked him to veto it.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Association asked him to veto it.
The Florida chapter of the American Planning Association asked him to veto it.
Crist signed it.
At the time Crist was still a Republican, trying to curry favor with business and the Republican establishment. He signed the bill in private, and announced his action after hours, even while he was holding big showy "signing ceremonies" for lots of other bills around the state.
It was the low point of his governorship, and he will go down in the history books as the governor who rolled back Florida's growth management.
And yet Crist didn't do it by himself. SB 360 passed 78-37 in the House and 30-7 in the Senate.
For now, the law is on hold. Just last week a judge in Tallahassee declared it unconstitutional. The ruling probably will be appealed.
Still, SB 360 was passed, the vote is on the record, and it seems a good place to start our review of how the Florida Legislature voted on key issues since the last election.
So here's how our Tampa Bay area's legislators voted:
Senators voting yes: Charles Dean, R-Inverness; Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey; Dennis Jones, R-Treasure Island.
Senators voting no: Victor Crist, R-Tampa; Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland; Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa; Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg; Ronda Storms, R-Brandon.
House members voting yes: Kevin Ambler, R-Lutz; Tom Anderson, R-Dunedin; Rachel Burgin, R-Tampa; Faye Culp, R-Tampa; Jim Frishe, R-Belleair Bluffs; Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City; Ed Homan, R-Tampa; Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater; John Legg, R-Port Richey; Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland; Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs; Ron Reagan, R-Sarasota; Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill; Ron Schultz, R-Homosassa; Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.
House members voting no: Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg; Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg; Janet Long, D-St. Petersburg; Betty Reed, D-Tampa; Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg; Michael Scionti, D-Tampa.