It’s not uncommon for the House floor to look like a veritable florist’s shop on the first day of a legislative session.
But now, Speaker Richard Corcoran is telling members to cool it on displays of blooms and topiary. The 2018 Legislative Session begins next Tuesday.
“Only reasonably-sized floral arrangements and live plants will be approved for distribution in the House Chamber for Opening Session,” the Land O’ Lakes Republican said in a recent memo.
“All Member-to-Member gifts other than floral arrangements and plants should be delivered to Members’ offices,” he added. “These policies are in place to protect the security and decorum of the House.”
Violating floor decorum is a peeve of the Speaker’s.
During the 2017 Session, he reminded members of the House’s “unwritten rule”: No taking smartphone videos of fellow members on the floor.
“It wasn’t aimed at anybody” in particular, he said at a media availability, “but over the last five or six times on the floor, I’ve just noticed (it) … Until you have a member’s permission, videoing them or taking a picture of them on the floor with a cellphone is not appropriate … You can have issues of civility if those things aren’t watched.”
A month before that, Rules Chair Jose Oliva told Women’s Legislative Caucus members wearing purple T–shirts with the slogan, “A Woman’s Place is in the House and the Senate,” to take the T–shirts off or turn them inside out.
The reason: They violated House decorum.
The Legislature will convene in joint session at 11 a.m. Jan. 9 to hear Gov. Rick Scott deliver his final State of the State Address. The Naples Republican, who may challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for his seat, is term-limited this year.
Before the State of the State, the House hosts a “Members & Families Breakfast” 7:30-9:30 a.m. in the House Dining Room in the Capitol.