With the bipartisan spirit receding from last week’s swearing-in ceremony, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford looked more like a typical conservative Florida Republican with the unveiling of his committee assignments.
Weatherford placed a trusted social conservative, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, in charge of the powerful Judiciary Committee, and he left Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka, an insurance agent, as chairman of the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.
Rep. Richard Corcoran, the Pasco Republican who is in line to be speaker in 2016, got two significant posts: chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and chairman of a select committee that will oversee the implementation of Obamacare.
Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, will oversee nearly a third of the state budget as chairman of the Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which now is in charge of K-12, community college and university spending.
The Ethics & Elections Committee, revived after six years of dormancy in the House, will be led by a second-term lawmaker, Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. The ranking Democrat on that panel is Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa.
Meanwhile, one of the banking and insurance industry’s most vocal critics, Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, was left off the Insurance & Banking Subcomittee, despite listing it as his top preference along with the Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee (he was given a slot on that subcommittee).