Wilton Simpson announces Senate committee assignments
Senate President Wilton Simpson during the Florida Legislature's Organization Session at the Florida Capitol Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Image via the Tallahassee Democrat/Tori Lynn Schneider.

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The new Senate President announced committee leadership the day prior.

Senate President Wilton Simpson on Thursday released the list of committee assignments and committee blocks for the current legislative term.

That followed the announcement of most committee chairs and vice chairs Wednesday.

Simpson’s announcement to Senators provided the full committee assignment lists for 28 committees, including five appropriations subcommittees and four joint committees with the House. He will assign the chair, vice chair and members for the Committee on Reapportionment, responsible for redistricting after the results of the 2020 census, as the committee’s tasks approach.

To allow for social distancing, the number of committees per committee block has been reduced so that no more than three committees meet at once. As a result, committees are divided into 14 groups.

“This schedule will allow us to utilize the committee rooms with the largest seating area for Senators, [Knott Building Room 412], [Senate Office Building Room 110] and [Senate Office Building Room 37], to accommodate appropriate social distancing,” Simpson said in a memo to Senators.

The new Senate President, formally selected last month during the Organizational Session, has held meetings with Senators to discuss how they can best contribute to the legislative body. He has incorporated those interests, including prior experience, into the committee assignments.

“As you know, I also believe one of the benefits of a citizen legislature is the new approaches and differing points of view offered by individuals who have limited or no prior experience with a particular subject matter,” Simpson said. “I worked to balance these ideas in finalizing committee assignments.”

Added the President: “As we head toward the new year, I encourage all Senators to utilize our outstanding professional staff in order to ensure you are up to speed in your assigned areas.”

Unlike his House counterpart, Speaker Chris Sprowls who announced his leadership team ahead of the election, Simpson put Democrats in key positions at the top of committees, including Sens. Lauren Book, Jason Pizzo and Darryl Rouson. At least two Democrats will serve on each committee, the smallest of which contains five senators.

Included in the list of committee assignments is the Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, a new committee that emerged out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zephyrhills Republican Danny Burgess, a freshman Senator who previously served in the House and in Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, will chair the committee, and Ocoee Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy will serve as vice chair. Republican Sens. Jennifer BradleyJeff BrandesJason BrodeurGayle Harrell and Keith Perry will serve on the committee, as will Pizzo and Democratic Sen. Loranne Ausley.

Find Simpson’s memo and the committee assignments below:

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.



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