Senate President Andy Gardiner says he has no plans to confirm a dozen of Gov. Rick Scott's agency heads before the May 1 end of the regular legislative session.
The Orlando Republican said two weeks ago he wouldn't play political games with Scott's agency heads, and he reiterated Thursday that he isn't. If they aren't confirmed, Scott can reappoint them within 45 days. If they're not confirmed in the 2016 session, they'll lose their jobs.
"Historically they have two years to be confirmed. I think some of our senators have concerns about some of the responses from secretaries," Gardiner told reporters. "By no means would we be playing games or threatening or anything like that."
Speaking one day after Scott threatened to veto Republican senators' bills and budget items if they reject his package of tax cuts, Gardiner said with a wry smile: "Certainly I hope nobody's threatening anybody in this process."
Two of Scott's agency heads have faced a particularly rough time in Senate hearings this session. Health Secretary and Surgeon General John Armstrong repeatedly sidestepped questions about Medicaid expansion and Secretary of State Ken Detzner is trying to block a bipartisan bill to create online voter registration in Florida by 2017. Corrections Secretary Julie Jones is also among the agency heads in political limbo.
--STEVE BOUSQUET, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau