Sunday, February 6, 2011

Legislators meet with Herald news staff

With barely a month left before the Florida Legislature opens the 2011 regular session on March 8, Manatee County's delegates met last week with us at the Bradenton Herald. They carved almost two hours out of their day to talk about what they see as the most pressing issues facing them this session, and about the key bills they have drafted.

The group included freshmen Reps. Greg Steube and Jim Boyd, and veteran Sens. Nancy Detert and Mike Bennett (who declared that wrinkles have value), along with Rep. Darryl Rouson, the sole elected Democrat at the table.

Representing the Herald were Editorial Page Editor Chris Wille, reporters Sara Kennedy and Grace Gagliano, Metro Editor Marc Masferrer, photojournalist Grant Jefferies (who produced this gallery) and myself. No question was off-limits, but our main goal was to gain a baseline for our expectations from this year's session.

And the expectations are high, as outlined in Kennedy's story today. With record unemployment and a burgeoning state budget, employment initiatives and cutting the state’s expenses topped everyone’s list. And the fact that those two aren't logical bedfellows escaped no one.

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