Pennsylvania has good idea Florida may need to adopt: Adding criminal histories to capitol portraits

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The state of Pennsylvania has a good idea for dealing with its criminal politicians, one that the state of Florida may have to adopt one day: add a crime blotter to pol’ official portraits.

The portraits of three former Pennsylvania House speakers and one former top state senator hanging in the Capitol’s marble corridors each tell visitors about their criminal histories.

Aides to the current Pennsylvania House speaker and presiding senator say the new plaques are intended to keep the portrait tradition intact while addressing criticism that the portraits of convicted former lawmakers shouldn’t be displayed near the likes of Ben Franklin.

For instance, ex-House Speaker John Perzel’s plaque now reads, “Mr. Perzel was defeated for re-election to the House in November 2010, prior to pleading guilty to a variety of corruption related charges, and was sentenced to prison on March 30, 2012.”

With one former Speaker of the Florida House formally charged with third-degree felony grand theft and conspiracy and a Speaker Designate-to-be currently under indictment, it may not be long before Florida has to do what Pennsylvania has done.

For example, in the House Clerk’s Manual, perhaps it will read: “Mr. Sansom formally resigned the speakership just minutes before his caucus was due to oust him. Sansom had been formally charged with third-degree felony grand theft and conspiracy. He resigned on the eve of his criminal trial for misappropriation of state tax dollars. On March 28, 2011, prosecutors dropped all charges against Sansom.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.