State Politics

Manatee legislators net House’s top posts

MANATEE — Manatee’s legislative delegation Monday scored top posts for the 2010 Florida Legislature, with House Speaker Pro Tempore Ron Reagan assigned to the vice-chairmanship of two powerful appropriations committees.

Reagan, R-Bradenton, and state Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, both will remain among the top leaders of the House, with Reagan presiding over the chamber when the speaker is away and Galvano continuing as chair of the Rules and Calendar Council, which sets the agenda for the chamber.

Galvano also will chair two other important committees, the Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review, which oversees gambling legislation; and the Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, which is conducting an ethics probe involving former House Speaker Ray Sansom, who has been indicted in connection with a $6 million appropriation to a local community college.

Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul on Monday announced committee assignments for next year’s session, along with revisions to the committee structure of the House of Representatives designed to make it more efficient.

Reagan was assigned to be vice chair for the Full Appropriations Council on General Government and Health Care, and will serve in the same capacity for the Full Appropriations Council on Education and Economic Development, Cretul announced. Reagan will also be a member of the Rules and Calendar Council.

“Personally, I’m very honored the speaker had faith in me to be on the appropriations council. It bodes well for our area,” said Reagan, who noted the council approves “every dollar that goes through the House.”

The only fly in the ointment might be the state’s continuing dearth of money, due to the recession, which has dried up the legislature’s normal sources of revenue.

“We still have to have money before we can appropriate it,” noted Reagan with a touch of gallows humor.

Both Reagan and Galvano were in the capital Monday as part of their official duties, they said.

Asked what his priorities for the next legislative session would be, Galvano replied, “I will be working hard to make recommendations on committees legislation should be referred to, and I just want to make sure what we do from a policy and budget standpoint addresses the critical needs of the state and is fiscally responsible.”

State Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota, is another member of the local delegation that will again hold a position of clout with his re-assignment as a member of the House Policy Council.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 708-7908 or at

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