Fla. Senate Leader Launches Aggressive Agenda

Monday, 09 May 2011 11:58 AM

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Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos was successful in pushing through the Legislature an aggressive conservative agenda during the 2011 session, passing hundreds of bills that are on their way to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for his signature.

florida, aggressive, conservativeBeyond the slew of laws, lawmaker also put on the 2012 ballot seven measures, some of them politically charged, that could significantly change the state’s constitution, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

Next year, voters will be asked to decide on constitutional amendments that could place limits on abortion funding and government spending while opening the door for increased money to religious organizations.

Some have charged that the amendments were placed on the ballot to draw conservative voters out for next year’s presidential election. Haridopolos defended the amendments, especially his so-called "Smart Cap" amendment that would limit the growth of state revenues to a new formula based on changes in population and inflation.

He also said that he has been trying unsuccessfully to get the measure on the ballot for several years. This year, the measure exempts local governments from the cap, which made it more amenable to some opponents.

"I'm not rushing it on the ballot, this is a long-term, thoughtful debate," Haridopolos said.

Haridopolos also sponsored the "health care freedom" amendment aimed at trying to blunt the impact of federal health care reform. Lawmakers passed a similar amendment last year but the state Supreme Court removed it from the ballot after ruling the wording was misleading. This year's version was reworded.

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