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Quorum Call for Sheriff Ed Blackburn, (D., Tampa).

Post # , Bob McKnight"s Florida Commentary

He killed my first bill in the Florida House of Representatives, and I later thanked him.

We always seem to remember our firsts. My first bill heard in a Committee occurred in the Florida House Transportation Subcommittee, chaired by a veteran member of the House Sheriff Ed Blackburn, Tampa Democrat. The Chairman was called Sheriff, out of respect for his previous office held in Tampa. He was highly regarded and a stickler for detail.

My bill dealt with requiring DOT to landscape buffer new roads built in close proximity to existing communities. My district in Kendall was being encroached by an extension of the Snapper Creek Expressway. DOT lobbyists there said they did not want a bill mandating such a requirement. I argued for the adoption of the bill in service to my constituents. There was not a discussion of the fiscal impact on DOT, which I expected.

Chairman Blackburn looked at me and said since this was my first bill, he would do me a favor by temporarily passing it. I later learned that temporarily passing a bill was the same as killing it. I thanked him for his courtesy, not knowing that my record in passing bills was now zero. The Chairman and the veteran members of the Committee just smiled at me as I got up to leave the room.

I went on to become close friends with the Sheriff. He was a tough conservative with a great sense of humor. He also had a great memory which is critical to being an effective lawmaker.

His wife, Francis was from Huntsville, Alabama, my wife Susan's hometown. The Legisladies as they were known became good friends

Ed Blackburn was another example of the great legislative members of The Golden Age of the Florida Legislature. He is so missed today. RIP Sheriff.



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