Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has talked for several years about his desire to reform and enhance Florida’s higher education system. It’s one of his few top priorities.
But when he finally saw the culmination of the cornerstone of those efforts on Thursday, he missed a significant step.
He didn’t vote.
When the final Senate floor vote of 35-1 was announced for SB 2, there was no vote recorded for Negron, even though he was present and overseeing the chamber at the time.
“He voted after the roll call,” Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta later told the Herald/Times.
Betta said there was “miscommunication” between Negron and the Senate secretary and the voting “board locked before he could record his vote.”
That wasn’t the end of the gaffe, though.
When the vote was first recorded and uploaded to the official Senate website, Senate staff changed the result when they weren’t supposed to. The results of the roll call were time-stamped as the same time of the vote but it was published as 36-1 with Negron’s “yes” vote included.
Senate rules specifically state “an original roll call shall not be altered,” but senators can change their votes or cast their votes afterward and, if no senator objects that same day, the official daily journal can reflect that revised vote.
Those votes are supposed to be designated as having been changed or added, though, and that initially was not the case with Negron’s vote in the original online record.
After the Herald/Times inquired about it, Betta said Negron had intended his vote to be marked as having been cast after the roll call, and that it would be fixed in the record.
The online record was updated about three hours after the vote, marking the outcome correctly as 35-1.