The Florida Senate is the upper house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida, the Florida House of Representatives being the lower house. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution of Florida, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted.[5] The Senate is composed of 40 members, each elected from a single-member district with a population of approximately 470,000 residents. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures, provided by the federal decennial census. Senators’ terms begin immediately, upon their election. The Senate Chamber is located in the State Capitol building.

As of 2020, Republicans hold the majority in the chamber with 24 seats; Democrats are in the minority with 16 seats.[6]

Titles

Members of the Senate are referred to as Senators. Because this shadows the terminology used to describe member of U.S. Senate, constituents and the news media, using The Associated Press Stylebook, often refer to them as State Senators to avoid confusion with their Federal counterparts.

Terms

Article III, of the Florida Constitution, defines the terms for State Legislators.

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.[7]

Legislators take office immediately, upon election.

Term limits

On November 3, 1992, almost 77% of Florida voters backed Amendment 9, the Florida Term Limits Amendment, which amended the Florida State Constitution, to enact eight-year term limits on federal and state officials. Under the Amendment, former members could be elected again after a two-year break.[8] In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not enact congressional term limits, but ruled that the state-level term limits could remain.[9]

Qualifications

Florida legislators must be at least twenty-one years old, an elector and resident of their district, and must have resided in Florida for at least two years prior to election.[10]

Legislative session

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

Committee weeks

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.[11]

Regular legislative session

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 its choosing.[12]

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.[13]

Organizational session

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

Special session

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.[14]

Powers and process

The Florida Senate 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.[15]

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“.[16] The Florida Statutes are the codified statutory laws of the state.[16]

In 2009, legislators filed 2,138 bills for consideration. On average, the Legislature has passed about 300 bills into law annually.[17]

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.[18]
In 2017, 1,885 lobbyists registered to represent 3,724 entities.[18]

The Senate also has the power to propose Amendments to the Florida Constitution. Additionally, the Senate has the exclusive power to try officials impeached by the House, and to confirm some executive appointments.

Leadership

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

Composition

AffiliationParty

(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
RepublicanDemocraticVacant
End of 2016–18 legislature2216382
Start of previous (2018–20) legislature2317400
End of previous legislature
Start of current (2020–22) legislature2416400
Latest voting share60%40%

Members, 2020–2022

DistrictNamePartyResidenceCounties representedFirst elected[19]Term up
Doug BroxsonRepMidwayEscambia, Santa Rosa, part of Okaloosa20162022
George GainerRepPanama CityBay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton Washington, part of Okaloosa20162022
Loranne AusleyDemTallahasseeCalhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla20202022
Aaron BeanRepFernandina BeachNassau, part of Duval20122022
Jennifer BradleyRepFleming IslandBaker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, Union, part of Marion20202022
Audrey GibsonDemJacksonvillePart of Duval2011*2022
Travis HutsonRepSt. AugustineFlagler, St. Johns, part of Volusia2015*2022
Keith PerryRepGainesvilleAlachua, Putnam, part of Marion20162022
Jason BrodeurRepSanfordSeminole, part of Volusia20202022
Wilton SimpsonRepTrilbyCitrus, Hernando, part of Pasco20122022
11Randolph BracyDemOrlandoPart of Orange20162022
Dennis BaxleyRepOcalaSumter, parts of Lake and Marion20122022
Linda StewartDemOrlandoPart of Orange20162022
Tom A. WrightRepNew Smryna BeachParts of Brevard and Volusia20182022
Victor M. Torres Jr.DemOrlandoOsceola, part of Orange20162022
16Ed HooperRepClearwaterParts of Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas20182022
Debbie MayfieldRepMelbourneIndian River, part of Brevard20162022
Janet CruzDemTampaPart of Hillsborough20182022
Darryl RousonDemSt. PetersburgParts of Hillsborough and Pinellas20162022
Danny BurgessRepZephyrhillsParts of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk20202022
Jim BoydRepBradentonManatee, part of Hillsborough20202022
Kelli StargelRepLakelandParts of Lake and Polk20122022
Joe GrutersRepSarasotaSarasota, part of Charlotte20182022
Jeff BrandesRepSt. PetersburgPart of Pinellas20122022
Gayle HarrellRepStuartMartin, St. Lucie, part of Palm Beach20182022
Ben AlbrittonRepWauchulaDeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, parts of Charlotte, Lee, and Polk20182022
27Ray RodriguesRepEsteroParts of Charlotte and Lee20202022
Kathleen PassidomoRepNaplesCollier, Hendry, part of Lee20162022
Tina PolskyDemBoca RatonParts of Broward and Palm Beach20202022
Bobby PowellDemRiviera BeachPart of Palm Beach20162022
Lori BermanDemLantanaPart of Palm Beach2018*2022
Lauren BookDemPlantationPart of Broward20162022
Perry E. Thurston Jr.DemFort LauderdalePart of Broward20162022
Gary FarmerDemLighthouse PointPart of Broward20162022
Shevrin JonesDemWest ParkParts of Miami-Dade and Broward20202022
Manny Díaz Jr.RepHialeahPart of Miami-Dade20182022
Ileana GarciaRepMiamiPart of Miami-Dade20202022
38Jason PizzoDemNorth Miami BeachPart of Miami-Dade20182022
Ana Maria RodriguezRepDoralMonroe, part of Miami-Dade20202022
Annette TaddeoDemMiamiPart of Miami-Dade2017*2022

*Elected in a special election.

District map

Current districts and party composition of the Florida Senate

  Democratic Party
  Republican Party

Past composition of the Senate

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Downey, Renzo (November 17, 2020). “COVID-19, impact on budget dominate Wilton Simpson’s first remarks as Senate President”. Florida Politics. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  2. ^ Florida Senate Majority Caucus [@FLSenateGOP] (December 2, 2020). “Please join us in wishing Majority Leader @debbie_mayfield a very Happy Birthday! We hope your day is full of celebration” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ Hayes, Kelly (April 28, 2021). “Senate Democrats sack Gary Farmer”. Florida Politics.
  4. ^ “The 2017 Florida Statutes F.S. 11.13 Compensation of members”. Florida Legislature.
  5. ^ “CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA”. Florida Legislature. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  6. ^ “Senators”. Florida Senate.
  7. ^ “CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA”. Florida Legislature.
  8. ^ “Vote Yes On Amendment No. 9 To Begin Limiting Political Terms”. Sun-Sentinel. October 27, 1992.
  9. ^ Kevin Derby (February 11, 2016). “Florida Backs Article V Convention for Constitutional Amendment on Congressional Term Limits”. Sunshine State News.
  10. ^ “CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA”. Florida Legislature.
  11. ^ “Editorial:Advice to Legislature:Pursue limited agenda”. Florida Today.
  12. ^ “CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA”. Florida Legislature.
  13. ^ Buzzacco-Foerster, Jenna (February 18, 2016). “Proposal to move 2018 session to January heads House floor”. Florida Politics. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  14. ^ “The Florida Constitution”. Florida Legislature.
  15. ^ “The Florida Senate Handbook” (PDF). Florida Senate.
  16. ^ a b “Statutes & Constitution: Online Sunshine”. Florida Legislature. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  17. ^ Flemming, Paul (March 8, 2009). Capital Ideas: Lawmakers face 2,138 proposals. Florida Today.
  18. ^ a b Cotterell, Bill (March 7, 2017). “Legislative session by the numbers”. Florida Today. Melbourne,Florida. pp. 5A.
  19. ^ And previous terms of service, if any.

External links