Haridopolos Names Committee Chairs

By: Michael Peltier Email
By: Michael Peltier Email


A pair of Democrats sympathetic to at least some Republican causes were tapped Monday by Senate President Mike Haridopolos to chair committees as the chambers organize themselves for the 2010 Legislative session.

Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, and Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, were named to head committees on agriculture and government oversight in the newly organized chamber that will officially begin its work Tuesday with an organizational session.

Both members have taken positions favored by the Republican-led chambers. Siplin, who will become chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said last week he may challenge in court the passage of Amendment 5, which was approved by voters in November despite the efforts of Republican Legislative leaders to scuttle the measure that changes the way political boundaries are drawn.

A member of the black caucus, Siplin was the Senate sponsor of a bill to trump Amendment 5. Siplin said the measure would violate federal protections that have led to the creation of legislative districts drawn in large part to ensure that minority candidates prevail.

Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, will become chairman of the Government Oversight and Accountability. Ring was the Senate sponsor last year of efforts to wrest control of the Department of Management Services from the governor’s office and put it under the purview of the governor and Cabinet, another issue favored by Senate Republicans.

The Democrats were among 28 committee and subcommittee chairmanships divvied out Monday on the eve of the Legislative organizational session. Some of those chairmen and women had already been named, including Senate Budget Committee chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, and Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

“Selecting committee chairs has been a member driven process,” Haridopolos said in a statement. “I took great strides in placing senators on committees they wanted to serve on.”

Chairmanships announced Monday included:

Agriculture: Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando.

Communications, Energy and Public Utilities: Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington

Community Affairs: Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton

Environmental Preservation and Conservation: Sen. Charles Dean, R-Inverness

Banking and Insurance: Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples

Commerce and Tourism: Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice

Regulated Industries: Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole

Transportation: Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Tampa

Children, Families and Elder Affairs, Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon

Criminal Justice: Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker

Education K-12: Sen Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville

Health Regulation: Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami

Higher Education: Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville

Judiciary: Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami

Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections: Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami

Government Oversight and Accountability: Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate

Military Affairs, Space and Domestic Security, Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera

Reapportionment: Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville

Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations: Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey

Subcommittee on Finance and Tax, Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale

Subcommittee on General Government Appropriations Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla

Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriation: Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart

Subcommittee on PreK-12 Appropriations: Sen, David Simmons, R-Orlando

Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development: Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Rules Committee: Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine

Budget Committee: Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

Joint Committees: Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa.

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