Brian Pitts: Gadfly or watchdog?

Brian Pitts, with Justice-2-Jesus Charitable Trust in St. Petersburg, speaks during discussion of Senate Bill 58: Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Judiciary at the Senate Office Building Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla. (Associated Press)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – When Florida lawmakers start their annual session a week from Tuesday, they’ll be meeting under the watchful eye of a St. Petersburg man who for the last 12 years has been taking civics seriously. 

The longtime Capitol-regular often makes waves holding lawmakers' feet to the fire. Brain Pitts has been called a gadfly.

“If nobody else does’t know what you’re doing, I do, and here it is,” said Pitts. "So if the public didn’t know, now you do know.”

Surrounded by sexual scandals, Pitts took most of the 2018 session off, but this year he’s back.
“It was riff-raff,” said Pitts.

Bill Galvano, the Senate president, says Pitts can bring value, then he parroted one of Pitts’ statements. 

“And I do adhere by the rule that if the bill is long you know something’s wrong,” said Galvano.

“The best way to hide something is to put it in a long bill because most of the time they don’t read it,” said Pitts.

Lobbyists have tried to buy off Pitts either to speak for or against some bills. His answer is always no.

“You talk about ethics and morals sometimes, they actually want you to cross that line. So I say no," said Pitts.

His efforts appear to be paying off.

“You’d be surprised how many bills are not agenda-ed because they know something is wrong with the bill,” said Pitts.

Pitts says he operates solely on donations to a 501C3 named Justice-2-Jesus.