From Aaron Dislatte in the Orlando Sentinel:
TALLAHASSEE — As the clock ticked toward the end of the 2012 lawmaking session, Florida’s most influential business lobby was desperate for a win.
Its lobbyists thought they had a package deal. If the Senate could pass a bill cutting worker’s compensation payments to doctors who dispense medication, a controversial education-reform measure known as “parent trigger” would pass with it.
The linchpin: Sen. Alan Hays, a Umatilla Republican sponsoring the worker’s comp bill, which would have banned doctors who dispense repackaged medication to worker’s comp patients from charging more than pharmacies.
Earlier Friday, the Senate had deadlocked 20-20 on the California-inspired parent-trigger bill, which would allow parents to decide whether to convert failing public schools into charters or privatize them.
Although Hays was a co-sponsor of the parent-trigger bill, he voted against it — and then, according to multiple sources, offered to trade his vote if Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, would allow a floor vote on the workers’ comp bill.
Haridopolos didn’t allow the vote. In the end, both bills died.
“He let me know in no uncertain terms he wanted his bill passed,” Haridopolos said. “I made it known in no uncertain terms I wasn’t going to take sides. … I felt it wasn’t my place to get involved in a special-interest food fight.”
Perhaps Hays’ NO wasn’t so principled afterall. But few will believe anything that Haridopolos says. The ethically challenged senate president may just be trying to embarrass Hays and exact revenge. But with another story line out there about the senate’s last day, at some point Hays will have to tell his tale.