We’d like to think that the Legislature spends all of its time figuring out how to solve our problems and make our lives better. But the reality is that all 120 members of the Florida House of Representatives and 20 of the 40 members of the Florida Senate have to stand for reelection every two years. And at this very moment we are in the midst of the campaign season: the primary is over and the campaigns are getting ready for the general election in November.
The results of the November 4th election will not change the fact that there will be Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. The House will be led by State Representative Steve Crisafulli, R- Merritt Island as Speaker of the House. FABA is especially proud of Rep. Crisafulli’s sponsorship a couple of years ago of lowering the weight threshold on the maintenance and repair exemption. Many of our members have benefitted significantly from the fine work that Rep. Crisafulli initiated. We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Speaker Crisafulli over the next two years.
The Florida Senate will be led by State Senator Andy Gardiner, R- Orlando, another long-time friend of FABA. Senator Gardiner has been instrumental over the last few years in advancing FABA’s priorities. His even-handed approach to leadership with an eye to economic development throughout Florida is sure to aid Florida’s economic recovery and provide certainty to businesses looking to relocate to Florida.
There is less certainty about what the outcome will be of the governor’s race between Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist. Governor Scott is defending his tenure as Florida’s CEO by pointing to the steady increase in jobs and businesses that have moved their operations to Florida — increases that have taken place since Crist left as Governor. Former Governor Crist has taken a different tact — trying to capitalize on his newfound popularity within the Florida Democratic Party, and counting on a high turnout on election day. This particular race is likely to be the most expensive statewide race in Florida’s history and perhaps the most expensive statewide campaign in the country.
Once the November 4th election is finished, the Legislature will return to Tallahassee for a one-day organizational session on November 18th. Both the Speaker of the House and Senate President will be sworn in on that day, and will begin the process of naming committee leadership and membership. Both the House and Senate have deferred any interim committee meetings until the first full week of January. The Legislature will hold five weeks of interim committee meetings prior to the 2015 Session starting on March 3, 2015.
So as the legislators focus on campaigns for the next two months, that will be our focus too, as we work with legislators to make sure to help those members that have committed to assist FABA. Once the campaigns are over we will engage our returning legislators with our priorities and educate the new legislators on our issues. Let us know as you connect with your local legislator back in the district so that we can complete the circle of communication by bringing up your issues with them when they are in Tallahassee.