Florida Legislature

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Florida Legislature
2016-18 Florida Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
Term limits
Senate 2 terms (8 years)
House of Representatives 4 terms (8 years)
History
Founded May 26, 1845
Preceded by Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida
New session started
January 9, 2018
Leadership
Joe Negron (R)
Since November 22, 2016[2]
Senate Majority Leader
Wilton Simpson (R)
Since November 29, 2016[3]
Senate Minority Leader
Oscar Braynon (D)
Since November 21, 2016[4]
Richard Corcoran (R)
Since November 22, 2016
House Majority Leader
Ray Rodrigues[1] (R)
Since November 22, 2016
House Minority Leader
Janet Cruz (D)
Since November 21, 2016
Structure
Seats 160 voting members:40 senators
120 representatives
Senate diagram 2014 State of Florida.svg
Senate political groups

Majority

Minority

HoR diagram 2017 State of Michigan.svg
House of Representatives political groups

Majority

Minority

Length of term
Senate 4 years
House of Representatives 2 years
Authority Article III, Florida Constitution
Salary $18,000/year + per diem (Subsistence & Travel)[5]
Elections
Senate last election
November 4, 2014
House of Representatives last election
November 8, 2016
Senate next election
November 6, 2018
House of Representatives next election
November 6, 2018
Redistricting Legislative control
Motto
In God We Trust
Meeting place
Tallahassee Old and New Capitols 3.jpg
Florida Capitol (Old Capitol in foreground), Tallahassee
Website
Official Website

The Florida Legislature is the Legislature of the U.S. State of Florida. It is organized as a bicameral body composed of an upper chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. Article III, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted.[6] The Legislature is composed of 160 State Legislators (120 in the House and 40 in the Senate). The primary purpose of the Legislature is to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws. The Legislature meets in the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.[7]

Titles[edit]

Members of the Senate are referred to as Senators and members of the House of Representatives are referred to as Representatives. Because this shadows the terminology used to describe members of Congress, constituents and the news media, using The Associated Press Stylebook, often refer to Legislators as State Senators or State Representatives to avoid confusion with their Federal counterparts.

Florida Senate[edit]

The Senate is the upper house of the State Legislature. Its members are elected on a partisan basis for four-year terms. The Senate consists of 40 members elected from single-member election districts. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures through the federal decennial census. Senators' terms begin immediately, upon their election. The Senate Chamber is located in the State Capitol building. As of 2017, Republicans hold the majority in the State Senate with twenty-four seats; Democrats hold the minority with fifteen seats.[8] One seat is currently vacant, due to the resignation of former State Senator Jeff Clemons (D-Lake Worth), following his admission of an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.[9]

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the State Legislature. Its members are elected on a partisan basis for two-year terms. The House of Representatives consists of 120 members who are elected from single-member election districts. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures through the federal decennial census. Representatives' terms begin immediately, upon their election. The House of Representatives Chamber is located in the State Capitol building. As of 2017, Republicans hold the majority in the State House of Representatives with 76 seats, and Democrats hold 46 seats. There are currently four vacancies, due to resignation. [10]

Terms[edit]

Article III, of the Florida Constitution, defines the terms for State Legislators. Legislators take office immediately, upon election.

Senate[edit]

The Constitution requires State Senators from odd-numbered districts to be elected in the years that end in numbers of which are multiples of four. Senators from even-numbered districts are required to be elected in even-numbered years the numbers of which are not multiples of four.

To reflect the results of the U.S. Census and the redrawing of district boundaries, all seats are up for election in redistricting years, with some terms truncated as a result. Thus, senators in even-numbered districts were elected to two-year terms in 2012 (following the 2010 Census), and senators in odd-numbered districts will be elected to two-year terms in 2022 (following the 2020 Census).

All terms were truncated again in 2016, with all 40 Senate seats up for election, due to court-ordered redistricting.[11]

House of Representatives[edit]

Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for terms of two years in each even-numbered year.[12]

Term limits[edit]

On November 3, 1992, almost 77 percent of Florida voters backed Amendment 9, the Florida Term Limits Amendment, which amended the State Constitution, to enact eight year term limits on federal and state officials. Under the Amendment, former members can be elected again after a two-year break.[13] In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not enact congressional term limits, but ruled that the state level term limits remain.[14]

Qualifications[edit]

Each legislator shall be at least twenty-one years of age, an elector and resident of the District from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years prior to election.[15]

Legislative Session[edit]

Each year during which the Legislature meets constitutes a new Legislative Session.

Committee Weeks[edit]

Legislators start Committee activity in September of the year prior to the Regular Legislative Session. Because Florida is a part-time legislature, this is necessary to allow legislators time to work their bills through the Committee process, prior to the Regular Legislative Session.[16]

Regular Legislative Session[edit]

The Florida Legislature meets in a 60-day Regular Legislative Session each year. Regular Legislative Sessions in odd-numbered years must begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. Under the State Constitution, the Legislature can begin even-numbered year Regular Legislative Sessions at a time of it's choosing. [17]

Prior to 1991, the Regular Legislative Session began in April. Senate Joint Resolution 380 (1989) proposed to the voters a Constitutional Amendment (approved November 1990) that shifted the starting date of Regular Legislative Session from April to February. Subsequently, Senate Joint Resolution 2606 (1994) proposed to the voters a Constitutional Amendment (approved November 1994) shifting the start date to March, where it remains. The reason for the "first Tuesday after the first Monday" requirement stems back to the time when Regular Legislative Session began in April. Regular Legislative Session could start any day from April 2 through April 8, but never on April 1 -- April Fool's Day. In recent years, the Legislature has opted to start in January in order to allow lawmakers to be home with their families during school spring breaks, and to give more time ahead of the legislative elections in the Fall.[18]

Organizational Session[edit]

On the fourteenth day following each General Election, the Legislature meets for an Organizational Session to organize and select officers.

Special Session[edit]

Special Legislative Sessions may be called by the Governor, by a joint proclamation of the Senate President and House Speaker, or by a three-fifths vote of all Legislators. During any Special Session the Legislature may only address legislative business that is within the purview of the purpose or purposes stated in the Special Session Proclamation.[19]

Powers and process[edit]

The Florida Legislature is authorized by the Florida Constitution to create and amend the laws of the U.S. state of Florida, subject to the Governor's power to veto legislation. To do so, Legislators propose legislation in the forms of bills drafted by a nonpartisan, professional staff. Successful legislation must undergo Committee review, three readings on the floor of each house, with appropriate voting majorities, as required, and either be signed into law by the Governor or enacted through a veto override approved by two-thirds of the membership of each legislative house.[20]

Its statutes, called "chapter laws" or generically as "slip laws" when printed separately, are compiled into the Laws of Florida and are called "session laws".[21] The Florida Statutes are the codified statutory laws of the state.[21]

In 2009, legislators filed 2,138 bills for consideration. On average, the Legislature has passed about 300 bills into law annually.[22]

In 2013, the legislature filed about 2000 bills. About 1000 of these are "member bills." The remainder are bills by committees responsible for certain functions, such as budget. In 2016, about 15% of the bills were passed.[23] In 2017, 1,885 lobbyists registered to represent 3,724 entities.[23]

The Legislature also has the power to propose Amendments to the Florida Constitution.

Leadership[edit]

The House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is headed by the Senate President. The House Speaker and Senate President control the assignment of committees and leadership positions, along with control of the agenda in their chambers. The two leaders, along with the Governor of Florida, control most of the agenda of state business in Florida.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "House Majority Leadership Team". Florida House of Representatives. 
  2. ^ "Treasure Coast's Joe Negron becomes Florida Senate president". TC Palm. 
  3. ^ "Joe Negron announces Senate committee leadership, membership". Saint Petersblog. 
  4. ^ "Miami Gardens lawmaker installed as leader of Florida Senate's Democrats". Miami Herald. 
  5. ^ "The 2017 Florida Statutes F.S. 11.13 Compensation of members". Florida Legislature. 
  6. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA". Florida Legislature. 
  7. ^ "FAQ". Florida Senate. 
  8. ^ "Senators". Florida Senate. 
  9. ^ "Clemens says he's resigning from state Senate after admitting to affair with lobbyist". Politico. 
  10. ^ "Representatives". Florida House of Representatives. 
  11. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA". Florida Legislature. 
  12. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA". Florida Legislature. 
  13. ^ "Vote Yes On Amendment No. 9 To Begin Limiting Political Terms". Sun-Sentinel. 
  14. ^ "Florida Backs Article V Convention for Constitutional Amendment on Congressional Term Limits". Sunshine State News. 
  15. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA". Florida Legislature. 
  16. ^ "Editorial:Advice to Legislature:Pursue limited agenda". Florida Today. 
  17. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA". Florida Legislature. 
  18. ^ Buzzacco-Foerster, Jenna (2016-02-18). "Proposal to move 2018 session to January heads House floor". Florida Politics. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  19. ^ "The Florida Constitution". Florida Legislature. 
  20. ^ "The Florida Senate Handbook" (PDF). Florida Senate. 
  21. ^ a b "Statutes & Constitution: Online Sunshine". Florida Legislature. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Flemming, Paul (March 8, 2009). Capital Ideas: Lawmakers face 2,138 proposals. Florida Today. 
  23. ^ a b Cotterell, Bill (March 7, 2017). "Legislative session by the numbers". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 5A. 
Seal of Florida.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Florida