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Sen. Aaron Bean will return to his state seat after drawing no opponents.

Influence

Aaron Bean revives bill proposing elected Secretary of State

There may be one more statewide office for Florida voters to select the occupant of soon.

Senate Joint Resolution 882, filed by Aaron Bean, proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution for direct election of Florida’s Secretary of State starting in the 2022 election.

The Bean bill also would elevate the Secretary of State to a Cabinet position in June 2019.

The language of the legislation denotes a perceived flaw in the current model: “Currently, the secretary is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor and is not a Cabinet member.

Bean filed a similar bill in 2016: SJR 1424 cleared committees, but died on the Senate’s Second Reading calendar.

Bean explained the rationale behind it to WFSU back then as follows.

“We all know that four is an even number, unless four is the total number of your board of directors, your committee roster or your cabinet. Four is indeed a very odd number should it be the number of your cabinet officers,” Bean told WFSU.

Regarding the governor’s “super vote,” Bean allowed that, while “maybe the governor should have a super vote … debate  [and] majority [should] rule in those cabinet discussions.”

An elected secretary of state, Bean added, would be more directly accountable to the voters.

We spoke with Bean Friday afternoon, and he felt more optimistic about the bill’s chances in 2017.

For one thing, the 2016 bill “did really well in the Senate.”

As well, said Bean, House sponsor Rep. Gayle Harrell has a “little bit of juice” and can push it farther along on the House side than it got in 2016.

An elected secretary of state, Bean said, is a “better way to govern the state,” and an odd number in the cabinet strikes the senator as a salient point for the future as much as the present.

Republicans, said Bean, “won’t always have the Governor’s Mansion.”

Bean is realistic: it “may take a few years to get this conversation going.”

But given that he’s filed this bill two years running, it clearly is a conversation Bean believes is worth having.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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