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Fasano is removed as chairman of budget committee for opposing prison plan

Minutes after the Senate leaders were forced to postpone a vote on a controversial bill to privatize 19 South Florida prisons because they couldn't muster the votes, the head of the opposition, Sen. Mike Fasano, was removed as chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee. 

Senate President Mike Haridopolos called Fasano into his office and gave him the bad news, he said, because he said "he was not rowing the same direction."

Privatizing Florida's prisons has been a top priority of Haridopolos, Sen. Don Gaetz and Senate budget chariman JD Alexander for the past two years but Fasano's ability to coalesce a coalition of Democrats and Republicans against the effort has stymied their efforts. Last year, Alexander slipped the measure into budget conforming bills to avoid a stand-alone vote on the issue. When the issue was challenged by the union representing prison guards, a Leon County Court judge ruled the way they enacted it was unconstitutional.

This year, they attempted to pass the proposal again and on Wednesday, after two days of behind-the-scenes lobbying, including a personal lobbying effort by Gov. Rick Scott, they removed the item from the agenda because they didn't have the votes.

"This is a budget decision,'' Haridopolos said. "It's become clear to me that Sen. Fasano was not willing to make these choices." He suggested that Fasano would not be able to complete a prisons budget without the estimated $16 million to $30 million in savings from the privatization plan.

Replacing Fasano as chairman of the committee will be Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale. Bogdanoff, who had been chairowoman of the Senate Finance and Tax Committee, will be replaced by Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa.

Fasano said in a statement that he was proud to vote his conscience "no matter what the consquences may be."

 

“No matter how big the bully in the schoolyard may be, if the loss of a chairmanship is the result of taking a stand for what is right, I wear that loss as a badge of honor,'' he wrote. 
 
“As the final days of the president’s tenure comes to a close I encourage him to stand up for taxpayers and consumers to ensure that each and every tax dollar is spent wisely.  The special interests should not prevail.  I hope that he will do what is right and remember why we were all sent to Tallahassee.”

 

 

Comments

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Victoria

Private (for profit) prisons should NEVER be allowed in the State of Florida because what is paramount is to these corporations who wish to run our prisons is PROFIT not public safety. Profit which may come at the cost of our freedoms. Think of how easy it is to make the citizens fearful and then to enact stronger laws which will fill those private prisons.

Look at The War on Drugs. It is a failure, yet politicians ignore that fact because of political contributions from those who benefit by keeping strong laws on the books...and fill those prisons. Next big lobbying manipulation will be for stronger immigration laws. What a bonanza! The current lobbying of our elected officials which is going on NOW has to be looked at for what it is, not savings for the citizens of Florida or a more balanced State budget, but a very smart business strategy by the corporations who wish to take over the prisons which we built at taxpayers' expense.


Bob

Haridopolis should be stripped of his post. And Alexander, Cannon and Gaetz also. They are no more interested in saving the citizens of Florida money than the man in the moon. They are keyed on furthering their own agenda and possibly lining their pockets. By the way I am a Republican. I sincerely hope that they all go down in a ball of flames.

Bill

Haridopolous is a disgrace! He doesn't care what the public wants...he only cares about the power, prestige and the MONEY that he'll personally come into by pursuing this plan to privatize our prisons. He will never see 16 - 30 million dollars savings to the State because this whole scheme will cost the State far more than that just in pension and benefits expenses alone that will have to be paid out. He's trying to dupe the people of the State of Florida by pushing this thing through as quickly as possible and with as much secrecy as possible. He's a traitor to the people that elected him, and he is the one that needs to be removed, not Sen. Fasano.

thomas rice

I think its high time some Senator's finances be investigated. Nobody fights this hard for something without there being personal gain in it. I mean, I would love to think that their push for privatization was altruistic but we all no better. High crimes and misdemeanors. Thank you Senator Fasano for doing your job and listening to the people.

Trecker

To Senate President Mike Haridopolos: SHAME, SHAME, SHAME ON YOU!.
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. ~ John 3:20(NIV)

afriedmann

Want to contact your Senator about the private prison bill?

Go to this site:

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6220/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9419

This is specifically for Florida residents to contact their state Senators on SB2038.

Jamie

Dirty "Hari"dopolus is a special interest tool and the very definition of the pay to play politics that gives tallahasse such a god awful reputation. I can't wait till this shill is just another worthless lobbist.

James

Thank You Senator Fasano. Your a man who is for the people and elected by the people. You have my vote if you would run for Governor. Why did my tax dollars pay for the prisons that our other elected cronies want to give away. If we as citizens allow them to privatize, aren't we as taxpayers still liable for the expenses of maintaining these facilities? Where's the savings. I would love to see 300 more teachers, but don't 4000 correctional officers pay taxes too? Stand up Floridians and fight the evils of Scott, Haridopolous, Gaetz, Alexander, Negron and Geo and CCA. This is only the beginning people wake up!

christopher rogers

Thank you Senator Fasano for standing up for what is right regardless of the circumstances.You are a man of honor and seem to truly care about the poeple who you represent. I am a State of Florida Correctional Officer.I attended the Budget Commitee meeting in Tallahasse on 1-23-2012.This was my first time attending one of these meetings.As a life long Florida resident (49 years) it saddened me the way Senators Thrasher,Alexander, and Gaetz acted as if it were a bother to listen to us speak. I will remember their names and tell anyone who will listen to me how arrogant and out of touch with the public they are.

camille

Mr Haridopolos what comes around goes around. If you only new what you were doing you would stop. I don't no how you sleep at night. How about we take your pay, you benifits and your house from you for one year and see how you like it. Or better yet why don't you go to a prison of our choice and let you walk in there for one 8 hr shift and then you can say to everyone how we and the public are not safe from you.

victoria

I posted earlier (See #1 post) where I alluded to the inequities of the War on Drugs and how it fills prisons.

This article
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2012-02-09/news/pot-smuggler-schools-seniors-on-medical-marijuana/

gives further evidence to my concerns.

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