Florida's state Legislators began their annual 60-day session, March 6, and the bills quickly began moving along through committees and onto the floor. Members had already met during committee weeks prior to the convening of the regular session. Each Senator and Representative may sponsor and co-sponsor bills.
Mid-Pinellas Legislators are on important committees.
Senator Dennis Jones is the chairman of Regulated Industries. He is also on the Economic Opportunities Policy and Calendar Committee, Environmental Preservation and Conservation, Ethics and Elections, General Government Appropriations, Rules, and Health Regulations. Jones represents Senate District 13, which includes the Pinellas beaches area almost to the Pasco line.
Eight members in the House of Representatives serve Pinellas County. The Clearwater area has Tom Anderson, Jim Frishe, and Ed Hooper as its officials.
Anderson, District 45, is vice chairman of the Committee on Healthy Seniors, serves on the Committee on Financial Institutions, Healthcare Council, and the Committee on Urban and Local Affairs.
Frishe, District 54, is vice chairman of the Committee on Courts, Committee on Health Innovation, Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, Safety and Security Council, and Committee on Tourism and Trade.
Ed Hooper represents District 50. He is vice chairman of the Committee on Healthy Families, and serves on the Committee on Infrastructure, Committee on State Affairs, Healthcare Council, and the Legislative Committee on Intergovenmental Relations.
Hooper has served the Clearwater area in several capacities. He was a Clearwater firefighter for 24 years and was elected to the city commission in 1996. He was elected to the Legislature in 2006.
Although new to the legislature, Hooper has already introduced several bills and is co-sponsor of others. One of his bills deals with domestic violence and increased penalties.
The local lawmakers are working with the other Representatives and Senators to deal with several issues of interest to Florida residents. Tops on the list appears to be taxes. Property insurance is the second priority, and was addressed during the special session in January. Of course, many of the insurance questions are hurricane-related. Solutions for the problems of transportation, education, and questions dealing with the environment also are on the Legislators' plates.
The session is scheduled to end, May 4.