On Thursday, Senator Joe Negron announced that he would not put on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s agenda legislation that would provide a tuition break for undocumented students. In doing so, Negron may be jeopardizing his ambitions to be Senate President in 2016-18.
After all, what does it say about how Negron would govern as Senate President if he would use a procedural maneuver to thwart the will of the Senate?
Senator Jack Latvala says he has 21 co-sponsors for SB 1400, yet because Negron won’t hear the bill, it will now take two-thirds of the Senate to bring the bill to the floor.
Undoubtedly, Sen. Negron believes he is acting on principle by opposing this legislation, but should the principles of one man outweigh the principles of at least 21 other senators?
Negron may be objecting to in-state tuition now and some of his allies may agree with his position now, too. But what happens when Negron decides he objects to some other piece of legislation? Negron is one of the Republican state Senators most sympathetic to the trial bar; what if he objects to, say, smart tort reform legislation?
Negron would have been better off here following the model of Sen. Tom Lee, who put SB 1400 on his committee’s agenda despite his own personal reservations.
“There’s a point at which, on these bigger issues, you have to ask yourself, does one man or one woman have a right to stop the wheels of progress for the other 159 members of the Legislature? So regardless of how I might feel about it, whether or not I would assert my authority to not agenda the bill is an entirely different question,” Lee said.
Spoken like someone who knows what it takes to be Senate President.
Are you listening Senator Negron?