As we forecasted last month, Senate President Andy Gardiner today appointed Senator Tom Lee as Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Gardiner also appointed Senator Anitere Flores as Chair of the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy.
Senator Lee previously served in the Florida Senate from 1996-2006, including a two-year term as President of the Senate from 2004-2006. He was again elected to the Senate in 2012 and re-elected subsequently.
“Each year we have a constitutional duty to pass a balanced budget. Sound management and careful oversight of the year-round appropriations process are is critical to meeting our obligation to craft our budget within the time-sensitive environment of a 60-day session,” said Gardiner. “Having previously served as our Senate President, Tom has a great deal of experience and a keen understanding of the multi-faceted appropriations process. He will be a key member of the Senate leadership and will work to ensure all Senators have the opportunity to play a role in drafting our state budget.
“While the Committee on Appropriations will remain the primary vehicle to produce the General Appropriations Act, the Committee on Fiscal Policy will provide an alternative path to the Senate Calendar for bills with a minimal fiscal impact,” said President Gardiner. “I have served with Senator Flores for a number of years in the House and now the Senate and have witnessed her ability to manage complex policy and budget issues. Anitere is a strong leader and I am confident she will be an effective member of the Senate leadership in this important role.
For those keeping score at home, with Lee’s and Flores’ appointment, the top 5 positions in the Florida Senate have been filled and Jack Latvala and Joe Negron are nowhere to be found.