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A pre-election reminder of how the Legislature voted

Between now and the November election, let's revisit some of the key votes taken by our Legislature over the past two years and see how our Tampa Bay-area lawmakers voted.

My list of potential subjects follows, and I'd like suggestions, too. E-mail them to

Let's start with 2009. Probably the biggest thing the Legislature did was repeal part of Florida's growth management laws — the part that said we need to worry about the effect of development on traffic.

To be more precise, Senate Bill 360 created "exception areas" in which developers no longer have to pay for the impact their projects have on roads. The law is drawn so broadly that any developer who doesn't qualify ought to fire his lawyer. Gov. Charlie Crist signed it.

Also from 2009:

SB 2080 gave the power to issue permits for water use and wetlands destruction directly to the state's water-district managers. Believe it or not, this was originally a bill to promote "Florida-friendly landscaping." It mutated.

HB 227 was another developer-friendly bill that turned the law on its head, putting the burden of proof on the government whenever a developer challenges the justification for an impact fee.

HB 1B, passed in a special session in December, was a sweetheart real estate deal for the CSX Corp. under the guise of promoting mass transit — a topic not previously close to the Legislature's heart. This deal was heroically but unsuccessfully opposed by Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland.

SB 2626 was a parting gift from the Legislature to Florida's telephone companies, which largely completed the process of deregulating them. The bill stripped the Public Service Commission of the power to investigate quality of service or other customer complaints.

As for 2010, the biggest fish was SB 6, which abolished tenure for public schoolteachers. This bill was the cause of state Sen. John Thrasher, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. It was vetoed by the governor.

HB 1207 was the Legislature's attempt to relegalize the "leadership funds" of Florida's past, in which special interests could simply pay unlimited sums of money directly into funds controlled by the incoming speaker of the state House and president of the Florida Senate. The governor vetoed that one, too.

House Joint Resolution 7231 later became known as Amendment 7 — the Legislature's sneaky attempt to nullify the "Fair Districts" amendments put on this fall's ballot by citizen petition. It has been thrown out by the courts.

HJR 37 became Amendment 9 on the November ballot, basically saying that no "Obamacare" program can be legal in Florida. A judge has thrown that one out, too.

HB 1143 required women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound and hear their doctor describe it to them. This drew yet another veto from the governor.

SB 2 is now Amendment 8 on the November ballot. It revises (critics say "weakens") the class-size amendment passed by Florida voters in 2002. Speaking of education, SB 2126 expanded Florida's school-voucher program paid for by corporate taxes.

Oh, and the Senate voted to dump two members of the Public Service Commission who dared to vote against massive electric rate hikes.

That's the list for now. As some people like to say, let's get to work.

A pre-election reminder of how the Legislature voted 08/04/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 6:30pm]
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