BRADENTON – Incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford gave his first indication this week that it will be business as usual in Tallahassee under his watch. The young legislative leader installed a host of reliable party loyalists in key committee positions, while keeping other lawmakers who've been known to buck the system from their preferred posts. Locally, Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) and Doug Holder (R-Sarasota) both scored committee chairs.
The House Ethics & Elections Committee, dormant for the last 6 years, will be led by local Republican Jim Boyd. Boyd will also serve on the State Affairs
|Rep. Jim Boyd|
Committee, the Civil Justice Subcommittee and the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Manatee's other Rep., Republican Greg Steube, will serve as vice chairman of the Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee and the Health Innovation Subcommittee. Steube will also be a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Regulatory Affairs Committee and the Rulemaking, Oversight and Repealers Subcommittee.
The House Regulatory Affairs Committee will be headed by Rep. Doug Holder (R-Sarasota), who will also serve as a member of the House Rules and Calendar Committee and the Ethics and Elections Subcommittee.
Rep. Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) will act as vice chair of both the Local & Federal Affairs Committee, and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. He will also serve on the Judiciary Committee, the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) represents parts of Manatee and Sarasota counties. Rouson will be a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, the Regulatory Affairs Committee, the State Affairs Committee and the Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee.
The incoming House Speaker is Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel). Weatherford made some other key appointments, which signaled the House would stay on the same far-right track.
|Rep. Greg Steube|
The influential Judiciary Committee will be chaired by Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), a strong social conservative. Baxley helped write and sponsor some of the Legislature's most controversial laws, including 2005's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows the use of deadly force to prevent "imminent death or great bodily harm," while removing a person's obligation to retreat that was required in previous self-defense statutes.
Another major law passed with the congressman's help is 2011's HB 1355, which reduced the number of early voting days in Florida from 14 to 8 while making it more difficult to register voters, some of which was later thrown out by a judge. Democrats and voting rights groups have partly blamed HB 1355 for the chaos in Florida during the Nov. 6 election.
Weatherford left Rep. Bryan Nelson (R-Apopka), an insurance agent, as chairman of the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, while denying one of the banking and insurance industry’s most vocal critics, Rep. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) from serving on the same subcommitee.
Fasano, who termed out as a Senator, but then surprised many by running for a newly districted House seat, made many enemies within the state GOP while serving in the Senate for going against what he saw as special interest legislation, such as prison privatization.
Fasano asked to be put on the subcommittee and said afterward in a statement on his Twitter page, "Pasco and Hernando is ground zero for property insurance crisis yet not one member of FL House on Ins Comm."
Over the next year, the subcommittee will be instrumental in changes to Citizens Property Insurance, which is suffering from problems revealed in an internal probe.
Rep. Richard Corcoran (R- Pasco), who is slotted to be speaker in 2016, raised his profile by being named chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, as well as a select committee that will oversee the implementation of federal health care reform.
Rep. Erik Fresen (R-Miami) will oversee nearly a third of the state budget as chairman of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which is in charge of K-12, community college and university spending.
The full list of committee assignments can be found here.
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