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New NE Florida lawmakers receive committee assignments

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Fresh off easy general election victories in special elections to fill vacancies left in the wake of former state Sen. John Thrasher‘s move from the Legislature to the helm of Florida State University, three newly minted legislators representing the northeastern corner of Florida received their committee assignments this week.

State Sen. Travis Hutson of Elkton, who replaced Thrasher in District 6, will sit on the following committee panels:

  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice,
  • Children, Families, and Elder Affairs,
  • Commerce and Tourism,
  • Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities,
  • Community Affairs, and
  • Environmental Preservation and Conservation.

With action ranging from Amendment 1 implementation to changes on the Public Service Commission, Hutson will have plenty to sink his teeth into for the last two weeks of session.

His new House colleagues will find themselves somewhat less encumbered by new bills requiring action as budget chief Richard Corcoran has declared dead all business still in subcommittee, but the steep learning curve of Tallahassee’s legislative culture will keep them plenty occupied no doubt.

Palm Coast state Rep. Paul Renner, who takes over Hutson’s old District 24 seat, has joined the following:

  • Health & Human Services Committee,
  • Health Innovation Subcommittee,
  • Highway & Waterway Safety Subcommittee, and
  • Veteran & Military Affairs Subcommittee.

There’s certainly some unfinished business in Health & Human Services, so Renner finds himself in the middle of a huge debate with national implications.

St. Johns state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson cruised to the widest margin of victory of the bunch in her bid to replace state Rep. “Doc” Renuart, who resigned his seat to challenge Hutson for the vacant Senate seat. She joins:

  • Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee,
  • Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee,
  • Health Quality Subcommittee, and
  • Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee.

Elsewhere in this week’s game of legislative musical chairs Tequesta sate Rep. MaryLynn Magar is now vice chairwoman of the House Health & Human Services Committee, taking the place of former vice chair Renuart.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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