Florida Senate President Joe Negron on Tuesday released leadership posts, including four Democrats, and committee assignments for the 2017 and 2018 Legislative Sessions.

Wilton Simpson of Trilby is now Senate Republican Leader and Kelli Stargel of Lakeland is the deputy leader.

Simpson, a Pasco County farmer, is on track to assume the Senate presidency himself in 2020-22 as long as the GOP maintains its controlling majority.

As previously announced, Jack Latvala of Clearwater takes the reins of the Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful positions in the Legislature.

His eight budget subcommittee heads will be:

Aaron Bean, Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

Rob Bradley, Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources.

Stargel, Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.

Denise Grimsley, Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government.

Anitere Flores, Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. She is also Senate president pro tempore.

Bill Galvano, Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education.

David Simmons, Appropriations Subcommittee on Pre-K – 12 Education.

Jeff Brandes, Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.

The rest of the leadership picks for committees are:

Keith Perry chairs Agriculture. Perry recently was elected to the Senate after serving in the House since 2010.

Flores chairs Banking and Insurance. Flores is an ally and confidante of Negron; the Miami-Dade resident officially nominated him for president at his December designation ceremony.

Rene Garcia chairs Children, Families, and Elder Affairs. Garcia has been in the Senate since 2010.   

Bill Montford chairs Commerce and Tourism. The Tallahassee Democrat was Leon County superintendent of schools before being elected to the Senate. 

Frank Artiles chairs Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities. He’s another new senator elected this year after serving in the House.   

Tom Lee chairs Community Affairs. The Brandon Republican, who was Senate President in 2004-06, was most recently the Senate’s budget chief.   


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