Central Florida Senators given presence on budget, environment, oversight

President Wilton Simpson's announced committee assignments for Central Florida's Senators.

With full Senate committee appointments announced Thursday, Central Florida’s Senators find themselves in key positions to craft legislation regarding state appropriations, children, families and elder affairs, environmental policy, and government oversight.

On Thursday, Senate President Wilton Simpson announced full committee assignments. The appointments expand the Central Florida clout on the Appropriations Committee beyond making Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel the chair, and sprinkled the region’s Senators heavily into several others. Stargel’s appointment as chair was announced last month. Simpson announced other committee chair and vice chair assignments Wednesday.

Central Florida’s Senate delegation was given no presence on Senate committees overseeing agriculture or education for the 2021 Legislative Session.

Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy of Ocoee, Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield of Indialantic, and Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart of Orlando join Stargel on the full Appropriations Committee.

Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur of Sanford, Mayfield and Stewart received seats on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, Bracy, and Democratic Sen. Victor Torres of Orlando are on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Criminal and Civil Justice. Republican Sen. Tom Wright is on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. Brodeur is on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Mayfield and Wright are on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.

Three of the eight seats on the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee went to Central Florida Senators: Brodeur, Torres, and Wright.

As previously announced, Brodeur will chair the five-member Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and Stewart will be the vice chair.

Four of six seats on the Government Oversight an Accountability Committee will be held by Central Florida Senators — Mayfield, Stargel, Stewart, and Torres. The other members are the chair, Republican Sen. Ray Rodriguez of Estero, and vice chair, Sen. Joe Gruters of Venice.

Among other committee assignments:

— Stargel, who will be an alternating chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, will be joined on that panel by Mayfield and Stewart.

— Baxley, who will be an alternating chair of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, will be joined on that panel by Torres.

— Baxley, who also will chair the Ethics and Elections Committee, will have Bracy on the panel.

— Wright, chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee, will have fellow veteran Torres on that committee.

— Wright also will serve as vice-chair of the Commerce and Tourism Committee, while Torres, whose district includes most of Orlando’s tourism corridor, will have a seat.

— Brodeur will be vice chair of the Health Policy Committee, and Baxley will have a seat.

— Bracy will be vice chair of the Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, and Brodeur will also serve.

— Stewart and Stargel have seats on the Banking and Insurance Committee.

— Baxley and Brodeur will have seats on the Community Affairs Committee.

— Baxley will have a seat on the Criminal Justice Committee.

— Wright will have a seat on the Finance and Tax Committee.

— Baxley and Mayfield will have seats on the Judiciary Committee.

— Stewart will have a seat on the Regulated Industries Committee.

— Baxley, Bracy, Mayfield, and Stargel all will have seats on the Rules Committee.

— Bracy and Wright will serve on the Transportation Committee.

— Brodeur will have a seat on the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee.

— Stewart and Torres will have seats on the Joint Select Committee on Collective Bargaining.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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