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Miami's Llorente and Rivera win top budget posts

House Speaker Ray Sansom did what until now had been impossible, he split the baby -- the coveted Appropriations Committee -- and kept Miami's lawmakers happy. Sansom created two committees and gave them to: Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, who will head of the Full Appropriations Council on Education and Economic Development and Rep. Marcello Llorente, R-Miami, who will head up the Full Appropriations Council on General Government and Health Care.

Rivera said in a statement he was honored to be selected and will use the committee to focus on improving the state's economy. "The future of Florida’s economy will travel directly through this appropriations council,'' he said. "I take this charge seriously and will work tirelessly to validate the trust and confidence Speaker Sansom has placed in my ability to lead this critical effort for the Florida House of Representatives.”

Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and next in line to be Speaker, will direct the Finance and Tax Tax Council. Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, will head the Policy Council. Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, will steer K-12 appropriations. Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, will oversee state and community colleges. Rep. Ed Homan, R-Tampa, is head of the Health and Family Services Policy Council.

Others said in the mix: Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola, will chair the Economic Development and Community Affairs Policy Council. Rep. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, will oversee health appropriations. Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, will lead health regulation. Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, will head government operations. Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, will oversee a special committee on Indian gaming.

-- Alex Leary