Schiavo Case Takes Emotional Toll on Lawmakers

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Anyone who doubts the toll the debate over Terri Schiavo is taking on Florida lawmakers needs only to listen to the tearful testimony of Sen. Nancy Argenziano.

Sen. Nancy Argenziano, (R) Crystal River, said, "Some of us have gotten threatening phone calls, threatening e-mails and have been called very nasty names."

It’s gotten so bad Rep. Irv Slosberg’s aide had to start sending phone calls straight to voicemail because so many were coming in. His in-box is clogged with e-mails urging him to save Terri Schiavo, mostly from out of state. He’s angry the issue is taking attention away from other important bills.

Rep. Irv Slosberg, (D) Boca Raton, said, "This bogged down the whole process. We’re not focused on our core business, which is taking care of the people."

But other lawmakers take offense at the suggestion that important state business is being ignored. The state budget process is moving forward, and that’s actually the only legislation lawmakers are actually required to get passed.

Senate President Tom Lee says concessions to the Schiavo bill have been minimal.

Sen. Tom Lee, (R) Brandon, said, "I don’t think it bogged anything down. I think mechanically, we modified the schedule a bit so this legislation could be heard in a timely fashion."

Communications have clearly been slowed by the e-mail avalanche. Still, supporters of the Schiavo legislation would argue focusing on that bill is the most important thing lawmakers could be doing right now.