We’ve seen this movie before, as the Tampa Bay Times points out:
It’s easy to tell when Florida’s leaders in Tallahassee are trying to ram through legislation that would not pass on its merits. First they try to sneak it through. Once caught, they change the rules and play with the financial numbers. Then the governor calls in opponents to twist arms. And finally, legislative leaders punish those who won’t get on board.
Private prison contractors have poured contributions into state senator’s campaign accounts, and they wanted their return on investment – a mass privatization of prisons in south Florida. What so often happens in politics is deep pocketed special interests like the prison contractors get their way. So far, not this time.
Thanks to thousands of Floridians who stood up and put relentless pressure on their legislators, and the personal courage of a few key state senators, the grand prison privatization scheme is stalled.
And as the Times points out, with legislators caught red-handed trying to pass bad legislation, those courageous enough to stand up against the scheme get punished. Sure enough, Senate President Mike Haridopolos took away leading privatization critic Sen. Mike Fasano’s committee chairmanship. Fasano’s response?
“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.”