Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crist Vetoes Sweeping Education Bill

From an article by Susan Davis of The Wall Street Journal:
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed an education bill Thursday that was a top priority of the conservative wing of the state's Republican Party. The decision fueled speculation the governor might be maneuvering to abandon his Republican bid for the U.S. Senate and run as an independent.

The measure had been supported by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who remains popular among Florida conservatives, and its chief sponsor was state Sen. John Thrasher, the state's Republican Party chairman.

The governor's decision to veto the bill drew a stark line between his administration and the Republican establishment. It earned plaudits from teachers unions, which opposed the bill.

The legislation—one of the most sweeping of its kind in the nation—would have eliminated tenure for new teachers and required merit-pay plans linking salaries to student learning progress. Unions opposed the measure, saying it would make it harder for Florida to hire good teachers, and that it violated collective bargaining rights.

It had been approved on near party lines: No Democrats voted for the bill, but a handful of Republicans in both chambers voted against it, making the prospect of a veto override unlikely.
The governor had previously supported the legislation but had recently changed positions on the matter, but maintained the position that his choice was not related to his campaign for the U.S. Senate, but in my opinion, Crist's decision has sealed his fate. Crist was already entering into a tough primary against Tea Party darling Marco Rubio, and Crist's conservative credentials have already been brought into question (which is why I believe he has taken a "repeal" stance against health care reform legislation). Now that Crist vetoed the bill, the right-wing of the party has fuel against the governor, where they can make claims that he sided with the unions and Democrats. While his veto may have played a factor in the general election, I see it as a problem for the primaries. Had Crist signed the bill into law, it would have been easier to defeat Rubio, and come November, Crist would ave most likely defeated the little known Kendrick Meek.

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