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Florida's new Senate president creates a resiliency committee and touts education efforts

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo is in a dark navy jacket and clapping her hands
Wilfredo Lee
Florida Sen. Kathleen Passidomo is shown during a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

Preparing for the 2023 legislative session, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo on Monday announced the creation of a new Select Committee on Resiliency and other committee assignments. The resiliency committee will be chaired by Sen. Ben Albritton, a Wauchula Republican who is also the Senate majority leader.

“The wide-ranging impacts of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole clearly fall under the jurisdiction of a number of standing committees,” Passidomo, R-Naples, said in a press release. “While we will address some of these issues during the upcoming special session, my expectation is the select committee will continue to review recovery efforts and overall resiliency planning for our state.”

House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, has created his own select committee to focus on the state’s responses to Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole. Lawmakers will travel to Tallahassee next week for a special session on property-tax relief for people affected by Hurricane Ian.

The special session, which is also expected to address property-insurance issues, will take place during the first of seven committee weeks leading up to the March 7 kick-off of the 2023 regular session.

Passidomo’s press release Monday also highlighted the chamber’s upcoming efforts to tackle education issues. Passidomo named Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, as chairwoman of a new Senate Education Postsecondary Committee and Sen. Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee, as chairman of the Senate Education Pre-K -12 Committee. Both education committee chairs were elected to the Senate last month.

“From increasing school choice options to setting standards for curriculum, parents are demanding more involvement in elementary and high school education,” Passidomo said in the release. “Meanwhile, higher education institutions are adapting to the demands of a post-pandemic workforce.”

While Republicans have eclipsed Democrats in the Florida Legislature for years, the GOP secured supermajorities in both chambers following the 2022 elections.

Passidomo, parting from recent tradition, did not appoint any Democrats as Senate committee chairs for the upcoming session. Passidomo earlier named Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze, as chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Monday’s assignments also identified other budget committee chairs as Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, Criminal and Civil Justice; Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, Education; and Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, Health and Human Services.

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