The Florida Legislature: A Snapshot of the 2023 Legislative Session

The Florida Legislature: A Snapshot of the 2023 Legislative Session

With traditional pomp and circumstance, the Florida Legislature convened on Tuesday for the purposes of an organizational session. The 160-member body was sworn in before friends, family, state dignitaries and staff. This process, according to the Florida Constitution, must take place 14 days after a general election.

Outgoing House Speaker Chris Sprows and Senate Speaker-turned Agriculture Commissioner-elect Wilton Simpson formally handed over the legislative reins to House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate Speaker Kathleen Passidomo. This transfer of power establishes the beginning of a new era, inaugurating a new republican super-majority.

During the official election of officers, Renner and Passidomo unveiled their legislative priorities and vision for the next two years. President Renner and President Passidomo expressed many common goals to achieve during their tenure. These goals include tackling the costs of rising inflation in Florida through lower taxes, addressing the insurance market, identifying and developing affordable housing needs, and focusing on l relief from fuel and utility bills. Parental rights in education are also a longstanding priority of the legislature. Renner and Passidomo are committed to continuing to fight for the next generation through conservative policies and proper funding, to provide every child with the opportunity to have a world-class education.

President Renner and President Passidomo have emphasized the importance of long-term environmental and transportation infrastructure for the state. Renner announced that the new House committee structure will allow members to “develop strategic solutions for the future of our water supply, water quality, transportation, land conservation and resilience”.

Additionally, Chairman Renner outlined his plan to meet the policies and demands of Wall Street ideologues within the framework of environment, social and governance – or ESG. ESG rating will soon become a factor in the state’s credit rating. The Legislature will introduce a policy to ensure that Florida’s credit rating is protected and that “fiscally irresponsible states like California [do not] receive a better credit rating than Florida simply because they adhere to the ESG policy agenda.

Renner also announced the creation of a Hurricane Resilience and Recovery Select Committee to help the state recover from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole and prepare for future storms.

Ahead of Tuesday’s session, President Renner and President Passidomo announced their leadership team for the 2022-2024 legislature. President Renner appointed Representative Michael Grant as Majority Leader and Representative Chuck Clemons as President Pro Tempore.

Additionally, Renner’s extended management team includes:

  • Representing Tom Leek, Chairman of the Credit Committee:
    The Appropriations Committee produces the proposed House budget and compliance and implementing legislation. The committee provides legislative oversight regarding the expenditure of allocated funds, reviews the Governor’s budget recommendations and agency legislative budget requests, and reviews trust funds for creation, termination, or modification. In addition, legislation with tax implications is usually heard by the Appropriations Committee or one of its subcommittees. Some budgetary matters within the purview of the Committee of the Whole include fixed capital expenditures for education and the salary, benefits and retirement of state employees.

  • Representative Bob Rommel, Chairman of the Trade Committee:
    The Commerce Committee reviews issues related to Florida’s economy; business and professional regulations; energy, utilities, telecommunications and cybersecurity policy; regulation of insurance companies and financial entities; and gaming regulations.

  • Representative Ralph Massullo, Chairman of the Education and Employment Committee:
    The Education and Employment Committee reviews issues related to Florida’s education system, from preschool through post-secondary education, adult education, and vocational training. Additionally, the committee has jurisdiction over policies and programs that provide all Floridians with the opportunity to prepare for the 21st century workforce.

  • Representing Bobby Payne, Chair of the Infrastructure Strategies Committee:
    The Infrastructure Strategies Committee reviews issues related to infrastructure planning for Florida’s growth, including transportation, water, resiliency, and land acquisition. The committee also reviews issues related to Florida’s agriculture and citrus industries, natural resource conservation, fish and wildlife issues, water quality and supply, and services. transport.

  • Representative Randy Fine, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee
    The Health and Human Services Committee reviews issues related to the regulation of health care providers, the regulation of health insurance and public health. This policy area also includes the extent and manner in which the government provides a safety net for low-income or otherwise vulnerable Floridians.

  • Representative Tommy Gregory, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee:
    The Judiciary Committee reviews civil and criminal law matters, including public safety and the administration of the justice system.

  • Representing Daniel Perez, Chairman of the Rules Committee:
    The Rules Committee submits schedules of special orders for adoption by the House. The committee also recommends procedures for managing the floor process.

  • Representative Lawrence McClure, Chairman of the State Affairs Committee:
    The State Affairs Committee reviews issues related to governance of state agencies, local government oversight and accountability, emergency management, administrative procedure, affordable housing, programs and benefits state and local government pensions, elections, ethics and standards of conduct for public servants and employees, including members of the House.

  • Representative Stan McClain, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee:
    The jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee encompasses matters concerning all state and local taxes and certain sources of non-tax revenue, and deals with statutory and constitutional policy regarding tax rates, the design of the tax base and the collection and application settings. The work of the committee also covers debt financing policy, tax administration and the application of tax laws.

  • Representative Mike Grant, Chair of the Special Committee on Hurricane Resilience and Recovery:
    The Special Committee on Hurricane Resilience and Recovery will examine issues related to recovery from recent storms and lessons learned to put in place best practices for future storms.

President Passidomo has announced a strong slate of leaders to complement her Senate leadership team. Passidomo appointments include:

  • Senator Dennis Baxley – Baxley will serve as President of the Senate pro tempore.

  • Senator Travis Hutson – Hutson will lead the Committee on Fiscal Policy – ​​a new committee for the Senate. This committee will work in conjunction with the Credit Committee.

  • Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield will chair the Senate Rules Committee.

  • Senator Doug Broxson – Broxson will chair the Senate Appropriations Committee.

  • Senator Ben Albritton – Albritton will be the Senate Majority Leader. Chief Albritton also holds the title of Speaker-Elect of the Senate.

  • Senator Keith Perry will assist Passidomo in implementing his vision for the Senate.

The House Democratic Caucus elected Representative Fentrice Driskell to lead the minority legislative party. Upon acceptance, Driskell announced the caucus leadership team. His appointments include:

  • Representative Dotie Joseph – Joseph will serve as the pro-tempore leader.

  • Representative Kelly Skidmore – Skidmore will serve as Policy Chair.

  • Representative Michael “Mike” Gottlieb – Gottlieb will serve as floor manager.

  • Representative Christine Hunschofsky – Hunschofsky will serve as Minority Whip.

Senator Lauren Book retains her position as Minority Leader with Senator Jason Pizzo as the pro-tempore Minority Leader.

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