The Legislative Branch of Florida government is authorized by Article III of the Florida Constitution to create and amend the laws of the state of Florida, subject to the governor’s veto. The Legislature also has the power to propose amendments to the Florida Constitution.
The only thing the Florida Legislature is required to do each year is pass a balanced state budget.
In addition, every ten years, in the second year following the census, the Legislature is required to divide the state into 30 to 40 contiguous senatorial districts and 80 to 120 contiguous house districts. Read more on the redistricting requirement here.
(The other two branches of Florida government, the Executive and Judicial Branches, will be the subjects of future primer posts.)
The Florida Legislature is divided into two chambers or houses: a 40-member Senate and a 120-member House of Representatives.
Every two years, the Senate elects a president and the House elects a speaker to serve as their presiding officer.
Florida is divided into 40 Senate districts of roughly equal population and 120 House districts of roughly equal population every ten years following the decennial census.
These are the most recent Florida Senate and House district maps, based on the 2020 census.
Terms of Office, Term Limits, and Elections
Florida senators serve four-year terms with two-term limits (a maximum of eight consecutive years).
Senate elections are staggered, with 20 senators elected in presidential election years and 20 elected during the midterms. However, races following redistricting elect all 40 members to ensure that each member represents an equal number of constituents.
State representatives serve two-year terms with four-term limits (maximum of eight consecutive years).
With two-year terms, elections for all House seats are on the ballot every two years.
Sessions of the Legislature
The Florida Legislature meets in session every year for 60 consecutive days. The regular session convenes on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each odd-numbered year and on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each even-numbered (election) year.
The Legislature may also be convened in special sessions by the Governor or jointly by the Senate President and House Speaker. Recent examples include sessions to address congressional redistricting (April 2022), property insurance (May and December 2022), and immigration, voter fraud, compensation of college athletes, and more (February 2023)
An extension of a regular session or special session requires a three-fifths vote of each house.
The 2024 legislative session is scheduled to convene on Jan. 9 and end on Mar. 8.
Partisan Makeup and Republican Party Control
The Florida Senate is currently made up of 28 Republicans and 12 Democrats; the House is made up of 83 Republicans and 35 Democrats, and there are 2 vacancies.
As such, the Republican Party controls both chambers of the Florida legislature. In fact, the Republican Party has controlled both chambers for the last 27 years. (For more, see Ballotpedia: Party control of Florida state government.)
State Finances and Budget
Florida has a AAA credit rating, indicative of “its history of sound financial management practices, high gap-closing capacity and reserves, and low long-term liability.” (Fitch Ratings, 8/16/23)
Florida’s fiscal 2023-24 budget totaled a record $116.5 billion, a 5.9 percent increase over the FY 2022-23 budget of $110 billion. (For more, see Florida Policy Institute Report: Summary by Issue Area.)
This chart shows FY 2023–24 appropriations by program area:
On a per-capita basis, Florida has one of the lowest budgets of the 50 states, a direct result of the state’s low-tax fiscal policy.
Public Participation in Florida Government
Members of the public may watch live, unedited coverage of the Florida Legislature, including committee meetings, on The FLORIDA Channel (TFC). TFC is a public affairs programming service funded by the Legislature and produced and operated by WFSU-TV. It features programming covering all three branches of state government. (For more, see TFC: How to Watch.)
Recordings of past meetings are available for viewing from TFC’s video library.
Members of the public who wish to provide testimony at a state House meeting may learn how to do so at the “Visiting the House” tab at www.myfloridahouse.gov. To provide testimony at a state Senate meeting, contact the appropriate committee administrative assistant to sign up and fill out an appearance card.
Representing Collier County
All of Collier County is contained in Florida Senate District 28, which also includes Hendry County and part of Lee County.
District 28 has been represented since 2016 by Kathleen Passidomo (R— Naples), who previously served in the Florida House since 2010.
Passidomo was chosen by her Senate peers to be Florida Senate President for the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions. The Senate President’s salary is $41,181 per year.
In addition to her service in the Legislature, Passidomo is an attorney with the Naples, FL, law firm Kelly, Passidomo & Kelly, LLP.
Parts of Collier County are included in Florida House districts 80, 81, or 82. About 51 percent of Collier voters live in District 81; about 35 percent of Collier voters live in District 82, and 14 percent live in District 80.
Rep. Adam Botana (R—Bonita Springs) represents District 80. Botana is the vice president of the Bay Water Boat Club, his family’s business. He has also worked in the food and beverage industry. He was first elected to the Florida House in 2020 and was reelected in 2022.
Rep. Bob Rommel (R—Naples) represents District 81. Rommel is a restaurant owner. He was first elected to the Florida House in 2016 and was reelected subsequently. Now in his fourth term, he is term-limited.
Rep. Lauren Melo (R—Naples) represents District 82. Melo is a real estate broker. She was first elected to the Florida House in 2020 and was reelected in 2022.