The Corner

Hasner’s Campaign Defends Conservative Bona Fides

In my roundup of the Florida Senate GOP primary, I mention two pieces by the St. Petersburg Times and Talking Points Memo that question former state representative Adam Hasner’s conservative bona fides. Hasner’s campaign disputes these points, so let’s go through them.

First, TPM says Hasner supported a cap-and-trade law in Florida. Hasner’s campaign argues that his bill blocked Gov. Charlie Crist’s attempt to impose a cap-and-trade program via executive order. Last month, Hasner’s adviser, Rick Wilson, told the Sunshine News:

Hasner’s legislation was a “poison pill” that led to the dismantling of Gov. Charlie Crist’s plans for a cap-and-trade system — plans that were spearheaded by [senatorial candidate George] LeMieux, Crist’s first chief of staff, Wilson pointedly noted.

The plan essentially cut off Crist’s efforts to impose a variety of carbon-reduction measures through executive order and require them to come back to the Legislature, where they would face a more critical reception.

“The Legislature was never going to approve a cap-and-trade bill. . . . This was a bill designed to short-circuit a cap-and-trade system,” Wilson said.

In a summary of Hasner’s bill provided by the staff of the state house of representatives, it says the bill includes:

Authorizing the [Department of Environmental Protection] to adopt rules for a Cap-and-Trade Regulatory Program to address GHG emissions from electric utilities, subject to legislative ratification and not prior to the 2010 Legislative Session

Although the bill authorized the agency to develop rules for a cap-and-trade program, it also forced that program to face a vote in the state legislature, where, presumably, it would die.

Second, the St. Petersburg Times quotes the Sun-Sentinel, which in 2004 wrote that Hasner had “cited votes in support of stem cell research.” Hasner’s campaign is adamant that he does not support government funding of embryonic-stem-cell research.

In 2006, he sponsored H.B. 1027, which gave the Byrd Alzheimer’s Research Center $120 million to conduct research on treatments for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases. Although the legislation did not specifically authorize funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, it also didn’t prohibit it, leading the Associated Press to note at the time, “Embryonic stem cell research is legal in the state, and presumably some of the money that could be allocated under the bill could go toward studies using the cells.”

When the St. Petersburg Times asked Hasner about this concern in 2006, he seemed to dodge the issue:

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, didn’t want to talk about whether the bill would allow spending state dollars on embryonic stem cell research.

“This bill will not be used as a vehicle to have an ideological debate on stem cell research,” Hasner said. “This bill is too important to hundreds of thousands of people fighting the war on cancer and the war on Alzheimer’s.”

But a 2009 press release from the Democratic leaders in the state house lambastes Hasner for not supporting embryonic-stem-cell research:

Leader Hasner argued today against allowing Florida’s public universities to use public money toward embryonic stem cell research. Hasner argued that it would be improper to use state funding for this vital work.

Third, I say in my piece that the St. Petersburg Times reminds Hasner of his previous “opposition to school vouchers.” I should have said Hasner opposed an expansion of the state voucher program “to families of active and retired military officers,” as the Sun-Sentinel says.

I’ve amended the article to reflect these considerations.

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