Monday, May 07, 2007


That State Senator Ronda Storms (R - Brandon) would get allllllllll pissed off and tossing verbal bombs at fellow senators, including some in her own party and the leadership.

Dara Karn of the Palm Beach Post described the nasty row in the newspaper's political blog Q:

Freshman Sen. Ronda Storms was taken to task by her Republican colleagues for amending a bill that would have increased penalties for child sex offenders but refused to back down, demanding a recorded vote that made many senators - especially those seeking reelection next year - cringe.

The bill (SB 2544) is the same one that riled GOP colleagues - whom she called “Republicans in name only” - the previous day because they voted for an amendment that essentially gutted the bill.

Senate leaders charged Storms with violating chamber protocol by replacing language in the bill that had been stricken by the committee that heard it, which members had been instructed not to do.

Senate Criminal Justice Appropriations Chairman Victor Crist blamed Storms for tricking him into agreeing to sign a blue card to withdraw the bill from his committee and send it to the floor with the understanding that it would not be significantly changed.

“I feel a little bit hoodwinked right now,” Crist, R-Tampa, said.

Although encouraged by GOP and Democratic senators to withdraw the amendments and let the bill die, Storms, R-Brandon, plunged ahead.

“If there are going to points of personal privilege that relate to me, I think it’s appropriate that I have an opportunity to respond,” she said after Crist’s remarks. “I haven’t done anything dishonest or anything abusive of the process at all. And I take great affront to the attack on my credibility.”

The spat didn’t end there.

After Senate President Ken Pruitt ruled that a voice vote killed her bill, Storms and five others raised their hands, signaling they wanted an official tally of the votes despite a prior admonition from Sen. Paul Dockery, R-Lakeland, who said that no one wanted to vote against a sexual predator measure.

Republican Sens. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales; Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne; Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and freshmen senators Don Gaetz, R-Panama City, and Steve Oelrich, R-Cross City, backed her.

The final 20-17 vote left Storms in tears and when the next amendment was offered, she withdrew the bill.

Storms disappeared shortly afterward and was the only absent member at the sine die ceremony.

Anyone with half a brain who has followed Ms. Storms' history on the Hillsborough County Commission, and the various controversies with collegues and others she started, knew this would happen sooner or later. It's rather surprising that it took this long.


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