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Bill clarifies process for rescinded gubernatorial appointments

The measure (SB 932) was filed by Sen. Tom Lee for the 2020 Legislative Session.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to withdraw more than 200 appointments made by his predecessor, former Gov. Rick Scott, raised eyebrows early this year, but proposed legislation introduced Thursday would wipe out any confusion.

The measure (SB 932) was filed by Sen. Tom Lee for the 2020 Legislative Session, which begins in January. Lee’s measure would establish that a governor may rescind an appointment before the individual is confirmed by the Senate. The proposal is also retroactive to Jan. 8, 2019, the day DeSantis was sworn into office.

In the weeks after his inauguration, DeSantis yanked dozens of Scott appointments. In trying to explain his overall decision to have his own appointees in place across the state, DeSantis said in February that “some of these folks (appointed by Scott) I just don’t know very well either way.”

The new governor also said he wanted to give other Floridians an opportunity to serve.

Scott, who delayed being sworn into the U.S. Senate to complete his second term as governor, continued to make appointments up until Jan. 7 — a day before DeSantis was inaugurated. The last-minute appointments intensified tension between the outgoing and incoming governors.

Many of the individuals tapped by Scott and who did not require Senate confirmation continued to serve after DeSantis rescinded the appointments.

DeSantis in February said there was a lack of consensus on whether those people should be allowed to remain in their posts.

Lee’s bill, which does not have a House companion yet, also lays out a process for other gubernatorial appointees. Under the proposal, any individual whose appointment is rescinded after he or she qualifies for the office can remain in office until the successor qualifies or until the end of the calendar year, whichever occurs first.

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