Senate bill filed to term-limit Florida poet laureate

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Sen. Dorothy Hukill filed a motion today to change Florida’s poet laureate from a lifetime job to a 4-year term-limited position, reports the News Service of Florida

The Port Orange Republican’s SB 290 changes the unfunded role of state poet laureate from a lifetime appointment of the governor to a term limited position – still appointed and unfunded — chosen through a process of nominations from the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

In the 2013 session, the House supported a similar measure (HB 589) that passed without opposition. But the Senate companion bill (SB 366), also introduced by Hukill, died on the Senate floor after one committee approve, from the Governmental Oversight and Accountability.

Since the death of Edmund Skellings in August 2012, Florida has been without a poet laureate.

Skellings was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and the third poet laureate in the state’s history, appointed by Gov. Bob Graham in 1980.

Poet laureate, first created in 1928, is a predominantly ceremonial honor, where the only requirement is to giving readings inaugurations and other events, as well as and engaging in educational outreach programs.

The first Florida poet laureate was Miami resident Vivian Laramore Rader, who served from 1931 to 1975.


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