Sen. Mike Fasano wins Friend of First Amendment award

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Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, was named winner Monday of the Friend of the First Amendment Award by the newspaper-backed Florida First Amendment Foundation.

Fasano, a legislator since 1994, is campaigning for the House this fall, seeking to return to the chamber where he began his legislative career after term limits force him out of the Florida Senate.

“Too often government goes too far in closing records from public scrutiny,” Fasano said. “I was honored to have worked with the foundation during my tenure as a lawmaker, and in particular during this past year, to help keep public records what they should be: public.”

The award is expected to be presented next March to Fasano. A friend and political ally of Fasano, former Gov. Charlie Crist, is a two-time winner of the award, honored when he was attorney general in 2005 and governor in 2007.

Fasano was an outspoken opponent last year of proposals by Senate leaders to privatize South Florida prisons, questioning how much of the issue had received a public airing. He also drew attention after receiving a $10,000 bill from state officials for public records involving the State Board of Administration’s investment decisions.

Fasano successfully fought the charge as “chilling to the concept of governmental transparency.”

The First Amendment award is named after Pete Weitzel, former managing editor of the Miami Herald and a past president of the foundation.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.