Weatherford, Gaetz get to work on reorganization
He won't officially take the oath of office as speaker of the Florida House until Nov. 20. But Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is already busily making organizational changes in the 120-member House as it welcomes dozens of new members.
Weatherford is reviving the House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee after a six-year exile. That's a sign the new speaker is serious about tackling ethics reform. He's also creating a Rulemaking Oversight and Repeal Subcommittee that will look at new ways of easing regulation in the state.
"We need an agenda that focuses on the needs and challenges facing this state," Weatherford said.
Weatherford will retain the basic budgeting structure, with an Appropriations Committee (chaired by Lakeland Republican Seth McKeel) and seven subcommittees under it. The education policy committee has subcommittees for Choice & Innovation, K-12, and Higher Education & Workforce.
House members have been asked to submit their preferences for committee assignments to the speaker's office by Nov. 14. In a memo, Weatherford reminded members that committee assignments are for the 2013 session "and expect changes in the interim months."
Over in the Senate, incoming President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, says he has made no final decisions on structural changes yet. But he said he's strongly leaning toward combining the pre-K-12 and higher education policy committees into one committee and also combining K-12 and higher education appropriations into a single appropriations committee.