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Florida lawmakers preparing to return to state capitol

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 4:42 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - Florida lawmakers return to the State Capitol Tuesday after an eight-month hiatus.

The constitution requires they return to organize and select new leadership, but nothing else is on their agenda.

The Senate President and the House Speaker are the two most powerful people in Florida behind the governor. Both exercise total control in their chambers.

Prior to the mid 1960′s, most presiding officers were from north and north-central Florida.

Because of a poorly apportioned legislature, which was fixed by a court in the mid 1960′s, the majority of votes lived in north Florida’s rural areas.

This time, they both hail from the Tampa Bay area.

The last time lawmakers were paired geographically was in 2011.

Before that, 1983, which may have lead to agreement on the Moffit Cancer Center.

That both presiding officers come from the same area of the state is very rare, but so is legislators being tested for COVID-19 before they can enter the building.

No lobbyists will be allowed in the Capitol Tuesday.

Reporters who enter must also be tested.

At 36, former prosecutor Chris Sprowls will be handed the House Gavel on Tuesday knowing it is on of the most difficult times in state history.

“So we are going to have significant budget challenges that we are going to have to work through to get Florida back on her feet. And a priority is going to be making the tough choices now so we can recover faster than the rest of the country,” said Sprowls.

54-year-old Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson hails from Pasco County.

Simpson is a successful egg farmer with a net worth of $25 million.

“People say, ‘You’re so nice, how are you going to be a legislator, because you have to be mean or sometimes you have to be tough,’ so I tell them that, don’t mistake my kindness for weakness,” said Simpson.

What lawmakers won’t do while at the Capitol Tuesday is look at Florida’s unemployment system or the state’s COVID response.

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