Richard Corcoran's Priority List: Universal School Choice, Judicial Term Limits, More Lobbying Bans

Sep 16, 2015

From the left Appropriations Chairs Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, begin the compromise process as full conference committee met June 11, 2015, while finalizing key portions of the state's budget within Criminal and Civil Justice, General Government and Health and Human Services.
Credit Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

Florida’s future House Speaker Richard Corcoran says the chamber will be doing business a lot differently when he’s leader. Corcoran will take over the House in 2017.

Corcoran officially became Speaker-designate Wednesday and in a speech before  colleagues, he ticked off a list of issues he wants to address when it’s his turn to permanently hold the gavel. Among them is a push to allow families, regardless of income or zip code to enroll their children in any time of school environment. Corcoran says he knows such a universal voucher system will be challenged.

“ Listen, half the stuff we do nowadays is litigated by some group or entity or whatever. but we shouldn’t stop moving down with something, we know will transform lives in the state. So we’ll keep going down there and down that path with the firm belief it’s constitutional," he told reporters.

Former Governor Jeb Bush’s original school voucher system used state money to send low income kids to private schools, but it was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court and replaced with a program giving businesses tax credits for making donations for scholarships. A proposal to allow students to go to any public school in their district earned bipartisan support but failed in the legislature this year.

But that's not the only thing on Corcoran's "want" list.

The future Speaker is looking at changes in the courts and setting his sights on lobbyists.  Corcoran says it’s time to crack down on cozy relationships between the legislature and the people and organizations funding their campaigns.  

"Man is flawed, and left to their own devices they will constantly seek their own self interest more often than not, so how do we protect against that? It’s a practice that doesn’t stop. You have to constantly build those walks to protect against that flaw and that self-interest.”

Corcoran is also looking at changes in the state’s court system. He’d wants to put 12-year term limits on judges. The legislature and the courts have had a contentious relationship in the past several years with the most recent clash between lawmakers and the Florida Supreme Court—which tossed out Congressional district maps and Senate district lines.