Senate President Mike Haridopolos told a gathering of news reporters Wednesday that “it’s very liberating not to run for office this year” but didn’t veer from his practice of offering carefully-worded answers to pointed questions.
Haridopolos' most enlightening comment came at the end when he said that the Senate may steer away from the practice last year of using 42 conforming bills to pass substantial legislation: "We can improve that part of the process."
On his push to appeal a court ruling that overturned the prison privatization plan: “We strongly believe we did it the right way...In a very simple way, here’s our choice: We can spend $22 million minimum on prisons or we can put that money on schools and health care.”
He didn’t answer what lawmakers will do if the court overturns the law that cut state worker salaries to pay into the state retirement fund so they could shift $1 billion into the general fund.
On whether legislators will approach issues more cautiously this session because of reapportionment: “It will make an already troublesome process more difficult.” He said, “Will the courts agree with our philosophy on it? That’s a whole ‘nother matter. There is contradictory information on it.”
On reprimanding Sen. Alan Hays whose comments last week insulted some members of the Hispanic caucus: "I've talked to Sen. Hays. I think he regrets it...He just didn't speak it the way he meant to...We all say things we regret."
On proposed casinos legislation: “This is not me telling people how to vote. If people have not heard we have gambling in the state it exists and we are going to do it the right way.”
On the U.S. Senate race, in which he announced he will endorse Congressman Connie Mack: "I want to see us elevate the political discussion…There has been a lot of finger pointing."