Led by state Sen. Rob Bradley, Regulated Industries is the committee to watch in 2015

in Uncategorized by

As the official list of 2015 legislative chairs rolls out, the lion’s share of the attention often goes to those slated to lead high-profile, influential committees such as Appropriations and Rules.

Yet, the upcoming session will likely be highlighted by a broad range of issues – gaming and the new Seminole Compact, growlers, generic vs. name brand drugs, and, maybe, medical marijuana.

With such a list of challenges facing legislators this spring, one committee is sure to stand out in the eyes of Florida lobbyists — Regulated Industries.

Among the subject areas under the umbrella of Regulated Industries: groups regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, in addition to alcohol and tobacco issues, include boxing regulation, homeowners and community associations, restaurants and lodging establishments, gambling, the state lottery and many more.

Come this March, it would not be surprising if Regulated Industries – both Senate and House versions — regularly plays to audiences packed with consultants.

In giving the nod to Fleming Island Republican Sen. Rob Bradley, Senate president Andy Gardiner tapped an accomplished attorney and policy wonk, tasking him with molding the upper chamber’s positions on a number of hot-button issues.

Not a bad move for Bradley, only in his third year as a state legislator.

One could credit Gardiner’s decision to a masterful job by Bradley, who, along with state Rep. Matt Gaetz, propelled the “Charlotte’s Web” medical marijuana bill through the Legislature last session.

Bradley was able to dig deep into the “weeds” of the issue (pun intended), and convince fellow conservatives, particularly in an election year, why compassion should trump traditional party stances.

With Bradley’s explication, the bill passed overwhelmingly.

A relatively fresh face in Tallahassee, Bradley is a well-liked lawmaker from a district containing both liberal Gainesville and determinedly conservative Clay County. A former prosecutor, he is both sharp-witted and thinks well on his feet, not afraid to bring the fire when needed.

By all accounts, Gardiner picked the right person for the job.

On the surface, certain interests and lobbyists could get a leg up with Bradley’s appointment. His Senate District 7 contains one of Jacksonville Greyhound Racing’s facilities, and finance reports show that they have been steadfast Bradley supporters.

Clay County resident and former state Sen. Jim Horne could also expect an uptick in business.

Another beneficiary of Bradley’s ascension could be the folks at the Jacksonville-based Fiorentino Group. Bradley family friend Joe Mobley and Tom Griffin, a former top Bradley staffer, are both lobbyists at the firm.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.