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Gaetz announces committee assignments, pushes bipartisanship

The committee assignments are out for the Florida Senate, and Sen. President Don Gaetz said he worked across the aisle to ensure fairness and effectiveness during a time when the Senate has a large new freshman class.

“The Senate is blessed to have Senators whose talents reflect the experience and abilities of the Floridians each Senator represents,” said Gaetz, R-Niceville. “In determining the attached committee assignments, each Senator’s subject area expertise and interests were considered, as well as the work we need to accomplish over the next two years.” 

Gaetz said that all 40 Senators were assigned as either a chair or a vice chair of a committee.

He assigned Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, as budget chair and Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, as Rule Chair, rounding out his leadership team.

Negron will also lead the select committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as the 11-member group works on Florida’s implementation of Obamacare.

There are five Democrats serving as chairs of committees, compared to two last year. Two of the committees chaired by Democrats this year are less critical joint committees.

Several committees are split between Republican chairs and Democratic vice chairs, or vice versa—giving Democrats more clout than they had last year when chairmanships and vice chairmanships were overwhelmingly Republican. Committee-leadership in the Senate is also more evenly split between parties than the Florida House.

The party breakdown in the Senate is 26 Republicans and 14 Democrats and, compared to a 28-12 split last year. There are more than a dozen freshman Senators after the once-a-decade redistricting process.

The budget committee is the most lopsided, with 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

Gaetz said he has asked each Senator to serve on two appropriations subcommittees.

“My goal is to ensure that ensure all Senators, new and returning, understand what is included in the base budget so that each Senator can be equipped with the information necessary to make decisions on what should be funded moving forward,” he said.

Other key assignments:

Ethics and Elections

Jack Latvala, Chair
Eleanor Sobel, Vice Chair (Sobel is running an independent task force to figure out what went wrong during this year’s elections). 

Education
John Legg, Chair
William Montford, Vice Chair 

Rules
John Thrasher, Chair
Chris Smith, Vice Chair

Health Policy
Aaron Bean, Chair
Eleanor Sobel, Vice Chair

Banking and Insurance
David Simmons, Chair
Jeff Clemens, Vice Chair

Judiciary
Tom Lee, Chair
Darren Soto, Vice Chair 

Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Joe Negron, Chair
Eleanor Sobel, Vice Chair

Gaming
Garrett Richter, Chair
Maria Sachs, Vice Chair

See other committee assignments here:  

The Full memo from Gaetz is below:


Memorandum

 

 

TO:

All Senators

FROM:

Don Gaetz, President

SUBJECT:

Committee Assignments

DATE:

November 28, 2012

 

 

The Senate is blessed to have Senators whose  talents reflect the experience and abilities of the Floridians each Senator represents. In determining the attached committee assignments, each Senator’s subject area expertise and interests were considered, as well as the work we need to accomplish over the next two years. Leader Smith provided a great deal of input in the committee assignment process, and I am grateful for his efforts.

Breaking with past Senate practice, I have asked every Senator to serve on two appropriations subcommittees. As you know, nearly forty percent of the body is comprised of new Senators. Additionally, the entire Senate has turned over since 2006. We are fresh off of redistricting, with 40 brand new Senate districts and even returning Senators may represent new constituents and different areas of the state.  As I indicated in my remarks during the Organization Session last week, this combination of factors is conducive to taking a look at all areas of the budget. My goal is to ensure that ensure all Senators, new and returning, understand what is included in the base budget so that each Senator can be equipped with the information necessary to make decisions on what should be funded moving forward. I am confident these appropriations assignments will allow all Senators to participate in a meaningful way with the preparation and finalization of funding priorities at the subcommittee level.

Every Senator has been offered an appointment as the Chair or Vice Chair of a Senate Committee. Five Democrat Senators have agreed to serve as Chairs. Senator Ring will serve as the Chair of Governmental Oversight and Accountability; Senator Montford as the Chair of Agriculture; Senator Sobel as the Chair of Children, Families and Elder Affairs; Senator Abruzzo as Chair of the Joint Committee on Legislative Auditing; and Senator Joyner as Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight. Democrats are also named as Vice Chairs to the vast majority of Senate Committees.

As I indicated last week, we are formally creating the Senate Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This select committee is charged with analyzing this federal law and related regulations, assessing the potential impact of these regulations in Florida, evaluating the State’s policy options, and recommending legislation necessary for implementation of the law in Florida.  In conducting this analysis, the select committee should consider:

  • ·         The comparative costs of implementation alternatives and state policy options for taxpayers, employers, and individual consumers;
  • ·         The value of a robust and competitive health insurance market and the conditions necessary to sustain this market environment; and,
  • ·         The need for meaningful and enforceable consumer protections.

I appreciate your time and contribution to this process. Taking into account the constraints of a block calendar in which several committees meet at the same time, we worked to accommodate the requests from each Senator. Depending upon the needs of the Senate, these assignments and the block calendar may be reevaluated following the 2013 Session.

I look forward to seeing each of you in Tallahassee next week.

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