December 2020 eNewsletter
With Election Day behind us, the Legislature has returned to Tallahassee for Organizational Session, where state lawmakers are sworn in and begin moving into their offices at the Capitol in advance of the 2021 legislative session.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 Sen. Wilton Simpson (R- Trilby) was sworn in as the next Senate President. President Simpson was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and reelected subsequently. During his time in the Senate, President Simpson has served as Chair of the Committee on Community Affairs; the Committee on Innovation, Industry, and Technology; and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. He served as the Senate Majority Leader from 2016 to 2018 and has always been a staunch advocate for Florida agriculture. President Simpson represents State Senate District 10, which includes Citrus and Hernando Counties, and a portion of Pasco County.
When President Simpson was designated to be the next Senate President, he talked a lot about his background in farming – and how it has given him an understanding and appreciation for the importance of roots. “If you want to ensure the quality of the crop, make sure the roots are healthy and strong. If you want to prepare a field for planting, you plough the field and clean it out, roots and all.” Sen. Simpson mentioned this in his acceptance speech “If you and I seize our days like a farmer, with long-term vision, and a solid work ethic, knowing that what we plant today is for a future harvest. I truly believe Florida’s best days are ahead. Thank you. God bless you and God bless the state of Florida.” Farmers and ranchers in the state of Florida should be excited with Sen. Wilton Simpson at the helm.
Sen. Aaron Bean (R – Fernandina Beach) will serve as President Pro Tempore. Sen. Bean has served in the Senate since 2012. From 2018 to 2020, he served as the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chair.
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples) will serve as Rules Committee Chair. Sen. Passidomo, has served in the Senate since 2016 and was the Majority Leader from 2018 to 2020.
On Friday, Senate President Wilton Simpson sent a memorandum to members announcing the appointment of Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) as Chair of the Committee on Appropriations.
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 Rep. Chris Sprowls was sworn in as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Rep. Sprowls has represented the 65th District of Florida since 2014, which includes Clearwater, Dunedin, and Tarpon Springs in northern Pinellas County. He has served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from 2016 to 2018 and was also head of the Rules Committee.
Sprowls appointed Miami Springs Republican Bryan Avila as speaker pro tempore, Port Charlotte Republican Michael Grant as majority leader, and Panama City Republican Jay Trumbull as chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.
Ormond Beach Republican Tom Leek will chair the Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee and the Redistricting Committee, which will oversee the once-a-decade reapportionment process for legislative and congressional seats. Redrawn districts are expected to be in place for the 2022 elections.
Sprowls has named Clearwater Republican Chris Latvala to chair the Education & Employment Committee.
Vero Beach Republican Erin Grall will lead the Public Integrity & Elections Committee.
Palm Coast Republican Paul Renner, who is in line to succeed Sprowls as speaker in November 2022, was named Rules Committee chairman. Spring Hill Republican Blaise Ingoglia will chair the Commerce Committee, and Lakeland Republican Colleen Burton will chair the Health & Human Services Committee.
Miami Republican Daniel Perez, R-Miami, will take over as Judiciary Committee chairman; Lecanto Republican Ralph Massullo will serve as State Affairs Committee chairman; and Palatka Republican Bobby Payne will be Ways & Means Committee chairman.
Florida Farm Bureau looks forward to working with its elected officials as it continues to make agriculture in the Sunshine State stronger.