The Florida Senate is the upper house of the Legislature of the U.S. State of Florida. Along with the House of Representatives, it composes the Florida Legislature. Article III, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The Senate is composed of 40 members, each elected from a single-member district with a population of approximately 470,000 residents. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures, provided by the federal decennial census. Senators' terms begin immediately, upon their election. The Senate Chamber is located in the State Capitol building.
As of 2018, Republicans hold the majority in the chamber with twenty-three seats; Democrats are in the minority with fifteen seats. Two seats are vacant, due to the resignations of Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), following his admission of an extramarital affair with a lobbyist, and Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), following allegations of sexual harassment and public corruption.
Members of the Senate are referred to as Senators. Because this shadows the terminology used to describe member of U.S. Senate, constituents and the news media, using The Associated Press Stylebook, often refer to them as State Senators to avoid confusion with their Federal counterparts.
Article III, of the Florida Constitution, defines the terms for State Legislators.
The Constitution requires State Senators from odd-numbered districts to be elected in the years that end in numbers of which are multiples of four. Senators from even-numbered districts are required to be elected in even-numbered years the numbers of which are not multiples of four.
To reflect the results of the U.S. Census and the redrawing of district boundaries, all seats are up for election in redistricting years, with some terms truncated as a result. Thus, senators in even-numbered districts were elected to two-year terms in 2012 (following the 2010 Census), and senators in odd-numbered districts will be elected to two-year terms in 2022 (following the 2020 Census).
All terms were truncated again in 2016, with all 40 Senate seats up for election, due to court-ordered redistricting.
Legislators take office immediately, upon election.
On November 3, 1992, almost 77% of Florida voters backed Amendment 9, the Florida Term Limits Amendment, which amended the Florida State Constitution, to enact eight-year term limits on federal and state officials. Under the Amendment, former members could be elected again after a two-year break. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not enact congressional term limits, but ruled that the state-level term limits could remain.
Each legislator shall be at least twenty-one years of age, an elector and resident of the District from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years prior to election.
Each year during which the Legislature meets constitutes a new Legislative Session.
Legislators start Committee activity in September of the year prior to the Regular Legislative Session. Because Florida is a part-time legislature, this is necessary to allow legislators time to work their bills through the Committee process, prior to the Regular Legislative Session.
The Florida Legislature meets in a 60-day Regular Legislative Session each year. Regular Legislative Sessions in odd-numbered years must begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. Under the State Constitution, the Legislature can begin even-numbered year Regular Legislative Sessions at a time of its choosing.
Prior to 1991, the Regular Legislative Session began in April. Senate Joint Resolution 380 (1989) proposed to the voters a Constitutional Amendment (approved November 1990) that shifted the starting date of Regular Legislative Session from April to February. Subsequently, Senate Joint Resolution 2606 (1994) proposed to the voters a Constitutional Amendment (approved November 1994) shifting the start date to March, where it remains. The reason for the "first Tuesday after the first Monday" requirement stems back to the time when Regular Legislative Session began in April. Regular Legislative Session could start any day from April 2 through April 8, but never on April 1 -- April Fool's Day. In recent years, the Legislature has opted to start in January in order to allow lawmakers to be home with their families during school spring breaks, and to give more time ahead of the legislative elections in the Fall.
On the fourteenth day following each General Election, the Legislature meets for an Organizational Session to organize and select officers.
Special Legislative Sessions may be called by the Governor, by a joint proclamation of the Senate President and House Speaker, or by a three-fifths vote of all Legislators. During any Special Session the Legislature may only address legislative business that is within the purview of the purpose or purposes stated in the Special Session Proclamation.
The Florida Senate is authorized by the Florida Constitution to create and amend the laws of the U.S. state of Florida, subject to the Governor's power to veto legislation. To do so, Legislators propose legislation in the forms of bills drafted by a nonpartisan, professional staff. Successful legislation must undergo Committee review, three readings on the floor of each house, with appropriate voting majorities, as required, and either be signed into law by the Governor or enacted through a veto override approved by two-thirds of the membership of each legislative house.
Its statutes, called "chapter laws" or generically as "slip laws" when printed separately, are compiled into the Laws of Florida and are called "session laws". The Florida Statutes are the codified statutory laws of the state.
In 2009, legislators filed 2,138 bills for consideration. On average, the Legislature has passed about 300 bills into law annually.
In 2013, the legislature filed about 2000 bills. About 1000 of these are "member bills." The remainder are bills by committees responsible for certain functions, such as budget. In 2016, about 15% of the bills were passed. In 2017, 1,885 lobbyists registered to represent 3,724 entities.
The Senate also has the power to propose Amendments to the Florida Constitution. Additionally, the Senate has the exclusive power to try officials impeached by the House, and to confirm some executive appointments.
The Senate is headed by the Senate President. The Senate President controls the assignment of committees and leadership positions, along with control of the agenda in their chamber. The Senate President, along with the Speaker of the House and Governor, control most of the agenda of state business in Florida.
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature||26||14||40||0|
|Begin (November 2016)||25||15||40||0|
|April 21, 2017||24||39||1|
|September 26, 2017||16||40||0|
|October 27, 2017||15||39||1|
|January 5, 2018||23||38||2|
|Latest voting share||60.5%||39.5%|
|District||Name||Party||Residence||Counties represented||First elected||Term up|
|1||Doug Broxson||Rep||Midway||Escambia, Santa Rosa, part of Okaloosa||2016||2020|
|2||George Gainer||Rep||Panama City||Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton Washington, part of Okaloosa||2016||2018|
|3||Bill Montford||Dem||Tallahassee||Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla||2010||2020|
|4||Aaron Bean||Rep||Fernandina Beach||Nassau, part of Duval||2012||2018|
|5||Rob Bradley||Rep||Fleming Island||Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, Union, part of Marion||2012||2020|
|6||Audrey Gibson||Dem||Jacksonville||Part of Duval||2011||2018|
|7||Travis Hutson||Rep||St. Augustine||Flagler, St. Johns, part of Volusia||2015||2020|
|8||Keith Perry||Rep||Gainesville||Alachua, Putnam, part of Marion||2016||2018|
|9||David Simmons||Rep||Altamonte Springs||Seminole, part of Volusia||2010||2020|
|10||Wilton Simpson||Rep||Trilby||Citrus, Hernando, part of Pasco||2012||2018|
|11||Randolph Bracy||Dem||Orlando||Part of Orange||2016||2020|
|12||Dennis Baxley||Rep||Ocala||Sumter, parts of Lake and Marion||2012||2018|
|13||Linda Stewart||Dem||Orlando||Part of Orange||2016||2020|
|14||Dorothy Hukill||Rep||Port Orange||Parts of Brevard and Volusia||2012||2018|
|15||Victor Torres||Dem||Orlando||Osceola, part of Orange||2016||2020|
|16||Vacant||Parts of Pasco and Pinellas||2018|
|17||Debbie Mayfield||Rep||Vero Beach||Indian River, part of Brevard||2016||2020|
|18||Dana Young||Rep||Tampa||Part of Hillsborough||2016||2018|
|19||Darryl Rouson||Dem||St. Petersburg||Parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas||2016||2020|
|20||Tom Lee||Rep||Brandon||Parts of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk||2012,
|21||Bill Galvano||Rep||Bradenton||Manatee, part of Hillsborough||2012||2020|
|22||Kelli Stargel||Rep||Lakeland||Parts of Lake and Polk||2012||2018|
|23||Greg Steube||Rep||Sarasota||Sarasota, part of Charlotte||2016||2020|
|24||Jeff Brandes||Rep||St. Petersburg||Part of Pinellas||2012||2018|
|25||Joe Negron||Rep||Stuart||Martin, St. Lucie, part of Palm Beach||2009||2020|
|26||Denise Grimsley||Rep||Sebring||DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, parts of Charlotte, Lee, and Polk||2012||2018|
|27||Lizbeth Benacquisto||Rep||Fort Myers||Parts of Charlotte and Lee||2010||2020|
|28||Kathleen Passidomo||Rep||Naples||Collier, Hendry, part of Lee||2016||2018|
|29||Kevin Rader||Dem||Delray Beach||Parts of Broward and Palm Beach||2016||2020|
|30||Bobby Powell||Dem||Riviera Beach||Part of Palm Beach||2016||2018|
|31||Vacant||Part of Palm Beach||2020|
|32||Lauren Book||Dem||Plantation||Part of Broward||2016||2018|
|33||Perry Thurston||Dem||Fort Lauderdale||Part of Broward||2016||2020|
|34||Gary Farmer||Dem||Parkland||Part of Broward||2016||2018|
|35||Oscar Braynon||Dem||Miami Gardens||Parts of Miami-Dade and Broward||2011||2020|
|36||René García||Rep||Hialeah||Part of Miami-Dade||2010||2018|
|37||José Javier Rodríguez||Dem||Miami||Part of Miami-Dade||2016||2020|
|38||Daphne Campbell||Dem||Miami||Part of Miami-Dade||2016||2018|
|39||Anitere Flores||Rep||Miami||Monroe, part of Miami-Dade||2010||2020|
|40||Annette Taddeo||Dem||Miami||Part of Miami-Dade||2017||2018|
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