To quote the 1954 Florida Supreme Court in Gray vs. Bryant: “The fundamental object to be sought in construing a constitutional provision is to ascertain the intent of the framers and the provision must be construed or interpreted in such manner as to fulfill the intent of the people, never to defeat it. Such a provision must never be construed in such manner as to make it possible for the will of the people to be frustrated or denied.”
But that is exactly what happened, not a whit more nor less. This was written by Pegeen Hanrahan in the Gainesville Sun on July 19, 2015. To read the article, go here.
On this same day an opinion editorial written by Sen. Alan Hays also appeared in the same newspaper. In it Hays tries to explain the actions of the Legislature, but he falls flat. No one says it better than Lauren Ritchie:
Hays believes the voters don’t thoroughly understand how environmental dollars are spent, so he’s going to save them from doing something really stupid by diverting cash away from their very specific orders on how to spend it. Hays argues that because the doc-stamp tax didn’t generate “new money,” then it is perfectly OK to spend it on current operations rather than buying land. He said the spending “exceeds” the requirements of the amendment.
Except that’s not what the voters said to do. They said stop spending on other stuff and redirect the cash to the environment and the state’s fragile water resources. Hays’ unfortunate commentary displays open contempt for voters.
Read Ritchie’s article here in the Orlando Sentinal, and Hays’ article here. If one compares the three articles, the reasoning, the logic, the facts, one will conclude that Hays is no match for either Hanrahan or Ritchie, not even close.
State Sen. Alan Hays represents District 11, which consists of parts of Lake, Marion, Orange and Sumter counties. He has served the last three terms as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, which includes agriculture and natural resources.
Pegeen Hanrahan was the deputy campaign manager for Amendment 1 and a former Gainesville mayor.
Lauren Ritchie is a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel