Florida House names education committees
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has released committee member lists for the coming legislative session. Representatives who led some of the Legislature's most contentious education battles in recent years are in charge, giving potential rise to the question of whether the agenda will change amid talk of bipartisanship and consensus building.
Education Appropriations, for instance, will be chaired by Rep. Erik Fresen, the Miami Republican who sponsored Senate Bill 736 two sessions ago. Fresen also has faced criticism for his strong ties to charter schools, with relatives running the Academica firm.
The Education Choice and Innovation Subcommittee, meanwhile, will be led by Rep. Michael Bileca, the West Miami Republican who sponsored last year's divisive Parent Empowerment bill.
And the Education K-12 Subcommittee will be run by state Rep. Janet Adkins, the Fernandina Beach Republican and former Nassau School Board member who last year unsuccessfully pushed to force school districts to hand over portions of their construction funding to charter schools.
Weatherford has assigned some pro-public school Democrats to the committees, too, including the outspoken Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed and Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, as well as newly elected teachers Karen Castor Dentel and Mark Danish. See the full House committee lists here.
Senate President Don Gaetz hasn't released his committee member lists yet. But they're due out soon, as committees begin meeting next week. Stay tuned.