THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Nov. 15, 2010 --
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.