Lawmakers will return to Capitol for 'Legislator University'

Published Dec. 1, 2016

A motivational speaker who worked in the White House. A mandatory seminar on sexual harassment. Breakout sessions on the death penalty, workers comp, Medicaid, the courts and the Florida retirement system.

It's all part of two days of member training next week in the Florida House of Representatives, with code numbers assigned to each seminar, just like at UF and FSU. The "Legislator University" is part of House Speaker Richard Corcoran's plan to upgrade civility and professionalism in a House where more than one-third of the members (46) are newbies.

Corcoran is bringing in Shelby Scarbrough, a motivational speaker who will discuss the importance of civility in politics and how to apply it to lawmaking. Scarbrough, whose fees and expenses were picked up by the Republican Party of Florida, is a Harvard Business School grad who worked in the White House Office of Presidential Advance and once owned a group of Burger King franchises in Northern Virginia.

Scarbrough's general session talk (GS 101) is one of three must-attend seminars for all House members. The others are Respect in the Workplace, with a focus on sexual harassment, and Ethics in the Legislature.

One class likely to draw a crowd (GS 303), inspired by the Corcoran-inspired new rules for lobbyists and House members, is "What Do the Rules Changes Mean for Me?" The program guide describes it this way: "Confused about how the recent rules changes related to lobbyists will impact how your office operates? Unsure what your responsibilities are? This session will clear up some of the common misconceptions."

Another seminar is entitled "Things I Wished Someone Told Me 6 Years Ago" in which members of the Class of 2010, now in their last terms, "share what they've learned so you don't have to make the same mistakes."