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Senate continues to roll bill making secretary of state an elected position

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A bill to make Secretary of State an elected, Cabinet-level post advanced Wednesday through the Senate Rules Committee.

Legislation by Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean (SB 882) rolled through the committee with neither debate nor discussion.

Historically, the Secretary of State in Florida was elected by the public, but that changed in 1998 when constitutional changes removed that position from the elected Cabinet of the executive branch.

Bean has argued in committee meetings that four is an odd number for the cabinet, and needs another member. Currently, 2-2 ties on votes in the Cabinet go to the side that the governor supports.

The bill needs two-thirds support in both the House and Senate to make it on the 2018 ballot as a constitutional amendment, where it would need 60 percent support of the public to become law.

Companion legislation is being sponsored in the House by Martin County Republican Gayle Harrell. 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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