Joe Negron is making the rounds.
The outgoing Senate President is doing post-Session interviews and sit-downs with the News Service of Florida, the Palm Beach Post, his hometown TC Palm, WPTV, and pretty much anyone else with a pen and notepad at the ready.
For the most part, Negron is focusing on policy, including offering his personal reaction to the “unfathomable” tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
However, as much as the button-down’ed Stuart Republican would like to stick to policy, the political is what has made the headlines.
Negron is, yes, mulling an early exit from the Legislature.
He’ll formally relinquish his leadership role to Sen. Bill Galvano after the November elections. After that, Negron says, he might just resign and not serve out the remainder of his four-year term.
While many lawmakers are term-limited after eight years, Negron can stay in the Senate until 2020 because certain quirks, including redistricting, give him more time.
“That’s an extra two years added on through the vagaries of litigation and reapportionment, so we have term limits for a reason,” Negron said. “That extra two years is an option. I literally just got home. I still haven’t unpacked everything.”
Negron’s probably right about wanting to give up the final two years of his term. Ex-Senate Presidents have the same shelf-life as fish and out-of-town visitors. Just look at how curmudgeon-y Don Gaetz and Tom Lee have been in the Senate after having wielded the gavel.
After all, what’s Negron gonna do? Chair an appropriations subcommittee?
Better to go out on top, Mr. President.
And if Negron is going to resign, it would be much better for all involved if he were to make a decision about his future plans BEFORE statewide qualifying in June.
He should announce his resignation plans in enough time for Gov. Rick Scott to call for a special election to coincide with the upcoming primary and general elections.
This way, not only is there no additional cost to taxpayers, but Negron’s Senate district won’t run the risk of going without representation during the run-up to the 2019 Session.
Negron is a considerate man who seems to pride himself on evaluating all options before deciding on a course of action.
He should be afforded enough time to make the right decision about his future political plans. But if he’s leaning toward an early exit, he should also do what’s best for his district and the state and announce those plans in a timely fashion.
Background from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.