January 31, 2013
By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings
Senate president Don Gaetz was obviously referring to former House Speaker Ray Sansom last week in his interview with Florida Face to Face while making the case for ethics reform:
Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, used the example of a lawmaker who gets elected, snags a seat on the education committee and suddenly becomes an expert, leading to a paid job at a college or school district.
“That’s just a little bit too convenient,” Gaetz said on the public TV broadcast Florida Face to Face.
It’s fair to wonder if Gaetz will be applying the following standard from his ethics bill to four Florida legislators for their relationships with charter schools:
Requires lawmakers to abstain from voting on issues that benefit them or their family members.
Gaetz, who referred to Sansom’s position as a “walking around job,” will have a tough time explaining why this standard doesn’t apply to the following legislators – two of which chair key committees on education. Jeff Solochek listed them in a 2011 story:
Rep. (now Senator) John Legg (Dayspring Academy in Pasco) and Rep. Seth McKeel (South McKeel Academy and McKeel Elementary Academy in Polk), Rep. Erik Fresen (several Academica schools in Miami-Dade) and Sen. Anitere Flores (Doral Academy in Miami-Dade).
Legg (Education) and Fresen (Education Appropriations Subcommittee) chair committees and are in a position to drive key charter school bills this year on capital funding and parent trigger. The sort of conflict on interest the ethics bill details couldn’t be better applied that it can be here.
Will the ethics bill be watered down to protect these four? The senate could be losing two yes votes on parent trigger in Legg and Flores. McKeel’s Appropriation’s chair is compromised if capital funding for charter schools comes before his committee. With Gaetz making an example of Sansom “as an expert” he’s implying that Flores has a similar position with Doral.
Naturally, any ethics bill won’t go into effect until after the legislative session is over. How convenient.
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