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PolitiFact Florida | St. Petersburg Times
Sorting out the truth in state politics

PolitiFact: Before veto, Crist staffer showed support for bill

Majority leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, expressed his disappointment with Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of the education legislation.

Associated Press

Majority leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, expressed his disappointment with Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of the education legislation.

The statement

"Gov. Charlie Crist sent his 'top policy staffer to the House Committee to testify in support of the proposal,' then vetoed the bill."

House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, in a press release Thursday

The ruling

Hasner reacted less than 10 minutes after Crist announced his veto of Senate Bill 6.

"I'm disappointed that after sending his top policy staffer to the House Committee to testify in support of the proposal, Governor Crist would change his mind and now veto the bill," Hasner said in a press release.

State records show — and video evidence confirms — that a Crist staffer did attend a House committee hearing in support of the education bill.

On March 25, at a hearing of the House Pre-K-12 Policy Committee, Crist education policy chief Terry Golden said she supported SB 6 on behalf of the Office of the Governor. We reviewed a copy of the appearance record.

PolitiFact Florida also watched an archived video of the 3-hour, 40-minute hearing, and two hours and 55 minutes into the committee hearing, Golden is recognized to speak.

She says: "The Office of the Governor waives in support." The comment is typical in committee meetings when a group indicates its position but does not wish to take the time to address the full committee.

A corresponding action packet also lists Golden as a "proponent" of the bill.

On the governor's Web site, Golden is listed as a policy chief in the Education Policy Unit of the Governor's Office of Policy and Budget. Golden also is a registered lobbyist for the governor's office.

We tried to call Golden to ask who asked her to attend the hearings on SB 6, but Golden's office referred our inquiries to the governor's press office.

Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said Golden appeared under orders from Kathy Mears, the governor's director of legislative affairs, and Ken Granger, policy director of the Governor's Office of Policy and Budget. "I think at the end of March, conceptually the Executive Office of the Governor was in support of the direction of the bill," Ivey said.

Crist, however, told a group of reporters on April 14 that he didn't know Golden ("I don't even know who that person is — though I'm sure they're a great person") or why she indicated that she supported the bill on Crist's behalf.

Still, a Crist education policy staffer went to a House committee hearing on March 25 and indicated the governor's support for a controversial teacher pay plan. Three weeks later, Crist vetoed the bill. We rate Hasner's statement True.

Aaron Sharockman, Times staff writer

This ruling has been edited for print. For a full version — and to read other rulings — go to PolitiFact.com/Florida.

PolitiFact: Before veto, Crist staffer showed support for bill 04/15/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010 8:16pm]
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