FLORIDA HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERS ASSUME OFFICE
This morning, the Florida House unanimously elected Ray Sansom (R-Destin) as the chamber’s new Speaker. An FSU Seminole, Sansom is an economic development representative for the Northwest Florida Region Alabama Electric Cooperative. His recent education votes were in support of school vouchers (SJR 2170), the "65% solution" (SJR 1150), and prohibitions against exposed underwear in Florida schools (SB 302).
Jeff Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) also took over as the Senate's new President. A Florida Gator, Atwater is market president of Riverside National Bank. His recent education votes were in support of protecting teachers who express criticisms of evolution (SB 2692), expanding tax credits to businesses for providing scholarships to private schools (HB 7145), and expanding eligibility for the Florida KidCare health insurance program for underprivileged children (HB 7189).
Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has called for a special session of the new legislature to deal with the state's budget shortfall. Sansom does not support the special session, but Atwater has declined to rule it out.
A Miami Herald article discusses the challenges before these new leaders at http://www.miamiherald.com/news/legislature/story/776597.html