Fasano, Dockery Find Own Prison by Glenn Marston

Posted: February 11, 2012 in News and politics

As the 2012 Florida Legislature chewed through bills mid-week, a priority of Gov. Rick Scott and Senate President Mike Haridopolos came before the Senate — prison privatization. Senate leaders and the governor seek to privatize 26 state prisons and work camps in the southern end of the state. However, a group of Republicans and Democrats opposed to privatization held off the leadership’s push Tuesday and Wednesday. Scott made an effort at shaking the opponents loose by calling in Republican Sens. Charlie Dean of Inverness and Steve Oelrich of Gainesville. Both are former sheriffs. Neither warmed up to Scott’s private-prison pitch. As the leaders became more frustrated, punishment seemed likely. Back in the Senate chamber, three Republican senators in particular stood in the way of Senate Bill 2038, reported the Tampa Bay Times. They are Jack Latvala of Clearwater, Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Mike Fasano of New Port Richey. As the 2012 Florida Legislature chewed through bills mid-week, a priority of Gov. Rick Scott and Senate President Mike Haridopolos came before the Senate — prison privatization. Senate leaders and the governor seek to privatize 26 state prisons and work camps in the southern end of the state. However, a group of Republicans and Democrats opposed to privatization held off the leadership’s push Tuesday and Wednesday. Scott made an effort at shaking the opponents loose by calling in Republican Sens. Charlie Dean of Inverness and Steve Oelrich of Gainesville. Both are former sheriffs. Neither warmed up to Scott’s private-prison pitch. As the leaders became more frustrated, punishment seemed likely. Back in the Senate chamber, three Republican senators in particular stood in the way of Senate Bill 2038, reported the Tampa Bay Times. They are Jack Latvala of Clearwater, Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Mike Fasano of New Port Richey. At the end of Wednesday, Haridopolos put the privatization effort on pause. Before leaving for the day, however, he stripped Fasano of his chairmanship of the Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations. For more spite, Haridopolos booted Fasano off the subcommittee altogether. Dockery lamented the decision on her Twitter microblog. She wrote, “Independent thought and voting your conscience should be rewarded, not punished.” At the end of Wednesday, Haridopolos put the privatization effort on pause. Before leaving for the day, however, he stripped Fasano of his chairmanship of the Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations. For more spite, Haridopolos booted Fasano off the subcommittee altogether. Dockery lamented the decision on her Twitter microblog. She wrote, “Independent thought and voting your conscience

Of course, Dockery — a capable, thorough and effective senator who often goes her own way — knows from experience that the Senate, and politics in general, rarely operate on the basis of fairness. After all, when Haridopolos geared up for the start of his 2011 Senate presidency, he awarded Dockery, who is in her final term, not a single committee chairmanship.

She was not a player on his team, he said in November 2010.

“There’s a lot of tough committee assignments, and she didn’t get one,” Haridopolos said.

Fasano experienced the same sort of my-way-or-the-highway politics Wednesday. Haridopolos said he removed him because he criticized prison privatization during a TV appearance on the MSNBC cable-news channel Monday, Fasano said.

“It’s unfortunate when leaders of the Senate can’t lose like gentlemen,” Fasano added.

Such misfortune affects all of Florida when the leaders of our state cannot apply the principles of democracy and representative government in an even-handed manner, and avoid manipulation.

 

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