Florida Legislative Roundup Part 1

Florida Legislative Roundup: Part 1

Florida Legislative Roundup Part 1 was made possible by the Seminole County Republican Party!

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In Seminole County, we had three first-year Representatives attend the Florida Legislative session in Tallahassee this year: Rep. Doug Bankson (Dist. 39); Rep Rachel Plakon (Dist. 36), and Rep. Susan Plasencia (Dist. 37). We also had experienced Rep. David Smith (Dist. 37) and Senator Jason Brodeur.

First-year Representatives are typically assigned by House and Senate leaders to various committees or subcommittees and typically don’t get to choose their assignments, including being assigned bills to sponsor/co-sponsor.

They are expected to review and monitor the implementation of existing laws as well as conduct hearings to review, amend and vote on bills presented before the committee so the bill can move on to the next step whether it be from a subcommittee to a committee or to a vote in the full House or Senate or maybe die in Committee – which is a frequent occurrence. And dying in committee could mean either in the House or the Senate. If it dies in one body, work on it is automatically stopped in the other. This year’s session saw more than 500 bills.

Congressmen are also expected to attend committee/subcommittee hearings to present a bill they have sponsored and to respond to questions. Bills typically go through multiple committees before they are passed. Congressmen also may have to be available to speak for a bill they have co-sponsored.

Congressmen have a list of other obligations as well but let’s just see how well our three first-year Representatives did this year.

Rep. Rachel Plakon (Dist. 36), Rep. Susan Plasencia (Dist. 37) and Rep. 
Doug Bankson (Dist. 39) all taking the Oath of Office at the beginning of the session

Rep. Rachel Plakon (Dist. 36), Rep. Susan Plasencia (Dist. 37), and Rep. Doug Bankson (Dist. 39) pictured taking the Oath of Office at the beginning of the session

Florida Legislative Roundup Part 1 was made possible by the Seminole County Republican Party!

Rep. Bankson was assigned to four committees and one subcommittee. He sponsored nine bills with two passing – one about commercial financing and one about the West Orange Healthcare District. Of the bills that did not make it, one was withdrawn in the Senate, five died in the Senate and for one bill there never was a Senate bill submitted. He also co-sponsored at least 44 bills. There may have been more as notices were being received after the session was over of him, Plakon, and Plasencia being a co-sponsor for additional bills. View a summary of Rep. Bankson’s bill »

Rep. Plakon was assigned to five committees. She sponsored nine bills with three successfully passing:  bills concerning controlled substances, people with disabilities, and facility requirements based on sex (gender). She co-sponsored at least 25 bills. View a summary of Rep. Plakon’s bills »

Rep. Plasencia was assigned five committees. In terms of bill passage, she was the most successful first-year Representative. She sponsored nine bills and six of them passed including the all-important HB 1 Education bill and HB 95 Rights of Law Enforcement Officers and Correctional Officers bill. She also had two bills passed about the people with disabilities registry. The last two bills that passed were about high school equivalency diplomas and roller-skating rink safety. She co-sponsored at least 40 bills. View a summary of Rep. Plasencia’s bills »

In addition, the Florida Legislature referred to two constitutional amendments to the ballot in 2024: one to make school board elections partisan and one to guarantee the right to hunt and fish. See Ballotpedia for more information.

Next month:  How did Rep. David Smith and Senator Jason Brodeur do? Plus, more on the bills signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Barbara Haiss Martin is an award-winning journalist who has lived in Seminole County with her husband, John, since 1972.

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