Senator Alan Hays

Amendment One Spending Legality In Question

Jun 19, 2015
Michael Seeley via Flikr / WFSU News

With the state budget to be passed this evening, conservationists are upset over the way Amendment One funds were allocated. The state’s main land-buying program for conservation, Florida-Forever, was left with significantly fewer dollars than other conservation commissions – who are using their allotted funds for personnel.

'Pro-American' Bills On The Verge Of Passage

Apr 30, 2014

Conservative lawmakers in Florida are in the final stages of passing two bills that detractors say amount to nothing more than thinly veiled racism and xenophobia. But both proposals have undergone extensive reimagining before finally making it to the House floor.

Wiki How / Wikimedia Commons

There are around 167,000 self-identifying Muslims in the Sunshine State, a population that’s growing. Some of them crowded the courtyard between the new and historical capitol buildings Wednesday as the sounds of an unrelated event’s karaoke blared in the distance.

MGN Online

Based on two separate Supreme Court decisions, state lawmakers are now tasked with reforming Florida’s juvenile sentencing laws. But, the Senate’s latest revamp is drawing mixed reviews.

According to the federal court decisions from 2010 and 2012, juveniles cannot be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or some kind of review. That’s regardless of their crime whether they committed a serious felony or convicted of murder. But Florida’s state laws haven’t caught up.

Fiscal Impact Of Tech Agency Still Uncertain

Mar 5, 2014
br1dotcom / Flickr Creative Commons

Florida lawmakers are hoping the creation of a new state information technology agency might save taxpayers money. But, despite a unanimous vote of support, not everyone is certain that it will and some are questioning the bill’s chances of becoming law.

Margate Democratic Senator Jeremy Ring gave the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government a deluge of reasons for consolidating the state’s technology within a single, standalone agency. Ring mentioned how Florida is the only state without a Chief Information Officer.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Procedural changes are in store for Florida’s criminal justice system. State lawmakers must address the escapes of several felons who used forged court documents to secure their release. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also reviewing its crime lab operations, after the recent arrest of a former chemist suspected of tampering with drug evidence in multiple cases.

Brian Herzog via Flickr

Grade school textbooks would be chosen by local school districts rather than the state education commissioner under a bill filed in the Florida Legislature. Almost 60 percent of U.S. states use the local textbook selection model already.

Florida Education Association spokesman Andy Ford says the state’s largest teacher’s union doesn’t yet have an official position on the proposal. But he says he’s scratching his head as to what problem the bill is meant to solve.

“That shows you right there why this is a good bill," says the bill's sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla).

FAU Harbor Branch Institute

A group of Florida lawmakers is deciding how much money to spend cleaning Florida waterways polluted by Lake Okeechobee runoff. A Wednesday committee hearing focused largely on helping the Indian River Lagoon, but some presenters differed over funding requests.

Before listening to presenters stating why the funds were needed, Umatilla Republican Senator Alan Hays set the tone of the meeting by describing how his Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on General Government could be swayed.

Florida Senate

A Florida lawmaker has filed legislation that would add Florida’s backing to a national movement seeking to limit the federal government’s power. The memorial needs OK's from 34 states before triggering a constitutional amending conference.

State Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) says the federal government does too much, collects too many taxes and imposes too many restrictions. So he and lawmakers from across the country have signed on to a plan for states to amend the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s going to have to be an American issue, not a partisan issue at all," Hays says.

The state of Florida employs close to 100-thousand people across 35 agencies. And all of those employees are paid using the same accounting system the state created when Jimmy Carter was President. Watchdog groups, lawmakers and former agency heads are warning Floridians of the system’s limitations and the possibility of a system crash.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

A proposed Florida constitutional amendment setting aside money for land conservation pits environmental groups against small-government advocates. The state’s public-land purchasing budget has been slashed in recent years, with some lawmakers arguing that mandating an amount that must be spent on conservation makes no fiscal sense.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A bill that would allow certain Florida nursing homes to bypass state rules to create new nursing home beds has cleared another committee. But, the Republican backed proposal that could create a special exception for one retirement community in particular is raising concerns among other Republicans and nursing home stakeholders.

Since 2002, nursing home providers must go through what’s called a Certificate of Need, or a CON review process before establishing a new nursing home or adding nursing home beds.

A bill that aims to lower the cost of owning and operating what is called a “low speed vehicle” cleared its first Committee stop in the Senate Thursday. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Alan Hays, says by changing that vehicle’s status to a golf cart, it will lower the cost of things, like insurance premiums.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Central Florida’s Silver Springs attraction could soon become a state park. A public forum on the topic attracted hundreds of people this week.

Ocala’s Vanguard High School auditorium was filled to capacity for the Silver Springs forum. More than 50 people took the microphone to give the state their input.

It’s the only spring in Florida still managed by a private company. And that company, Spanish-owned Palace Entertainment, is trying to be let go from its lease before it expires in 2029.

Opponents of a bill that would ban courts from making a decision on certain cases based on foreign law are trying a last ditch effort to get it voted down on the Senate Floor. As Sascha Cordner reports, while the bill’s sponsors say they’re trying to make Florida courts pure, others are calling it an attack on certain religions.

“It’s unacceptable for his Senate to be infested with this hate speech being distributed.”