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Legislative leaders appoint chief budget negotiators, including many lawyers

Senior Editor Top Stories
President Kathleen Passidmo

President Kathleen Passidmo

House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidmo, Palm Coast and Naples attorneys, respectively, appointed their chief budget negotiators on Monday.

The House’s $115.9 billion, and the Senate’s $115.6 billion spending proposals for FY 2024-25 call for steep cuts of $600 million and $1 billion respectively.

The cuts largely reflect the disappearance of federal stimulus dollars, however, both spending plans include many court priorities.

Speaker Paul Renner

Speaker Paul Renner

Both plans would increase overall spending on the court system, with the House proposing $744.8 million, and the Senate, $737.2 million, or $4.8% and 3.7% increases, respectively.

Both proposals would include a 3% pay increase for trial court and appellate judges, an issue that won’t likely be decided until just before the March 8 scheduled adjournment.

Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley, a Fleming Island attorney, will lead the upper chamber’s Conference Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice, which deals with court spending.

Serving with her on the 10-member conference committee are Republican Sen. Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills attorney; Republican Sen. Jonathan Martin, a Ft. Myers attorney; Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Hollywood attorney, and Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson, a St. Petersburg attorney.

Rep. Charles “Chuck” Brannan III, a cattle rancher from Lake City and a retired law enforcement officer, will serve as House Justice Conference chair.

Serving with Brannan on the 13-member committee are Republican Rep. Mike Beltran, a Riverview attorney; Republican Rep. Tom Fabricio, a Hialeah attorney; Republican Rep.  Berny Jacques, a Clearwater attorney; Republican Rep. Mike Redondo, a Miami attorney; and Democratic Rep. Mike Gottlieb, a Plantation criminal defense attorney.

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