Florida Senate

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Florida Senate
Florida State Legislature
Florida Senate seal.png
Term limits
2 terms (8 years)
New session started
March 5, 2013
Don Gaetz (R)
since November 6, 2012
Garrett Richter (R)
since November 6, 2012
Majority Leader
Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
since November 6, 2012
Minority Leader
Chris Smith (D)
since November 6, 2012
Seats 40
Political groups
Republican Party (26)
Democratic Party (14)
Length of term
4 years
Authority Article I, Section 1, Florida Constitution
Salary $29,697/year + per diem
Last election
November 6, 2012
(40 seats)
Next election
November 4, 2014
(20 seats)
Redistricting Legislative Control
In God We Trust
Meeting place
Florida Senate Chamber.jpg
State Senate Chamber
Florida Capitol
Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State Senate
Seal of Florida.svg
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The Florida Senate is the upper house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the US state of Florida. The Senate is composed of 40 members representing an equal number of districts, with each district having an average population of 470,032.

The Senate convenes at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. Senators serve four-year terms, and are restricted by term limits, confining them to two consecutive four-year terms (eight years).

Terms, qualification and districts[edit]

The Florida Constitution requires state senators to be elected to staggered, four-year terms or two-year terms during reapportionment.[1] Except during reapportionment, senators in odd-numbered districts are elected in U.S. presidential election years, and senators in even-numbered districts are elected with Florida's statewide offices. To reflect the results of the U.S. Census and revisions in electoral district boundaries, senators are up for re-election in those years ending in the digit 2. Thus, senators in even-numbered districts were elected to two-year terms in 2012, and senators in odd-numbered districts will be elected to two-year terms in 2022.

State senators must be at least 21 years of age, an elector and resident of their electoral district.[1] They take immediate office following their election.[1]

Electoral districts are organized by population.

Powers and process[edit]

The Florida Constitution authorizes the state legislature to create and amend the laws of the U.S. state of Florida.[1] State senators propose legislation in the forms of bills drafted by a nonpartisan, professional staff.[2] Successful legislation must undergo committee review, three readings on the floor of each house, with appropriate voting majorities, as required, and either be signed into law by the governor or enacted through a veto override approved by two-thirds of the membership of each legislative house.[2]

The entire Florida Legislature meets every year in a session beginning on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March and lasting 60 calendar days. [3] Special sessions may be called either by the governor or by the leaders of both chambers acting jointly.


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
End of previous legislature 28 12 40 0
Begin (November 2012) 26 14 40 0
Latest voting share 65% 35%


Position Name Party District
President of the Senate Don Gaetz Republican 1
President pro tempore Garrett Richter Republican 23
Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto Republican 30
Minority Leader Chris Smith Democratic 31
Minority Leader pro tempore Maria Sachs Democratic 34

Members, 2012–2014[edit]

District Name Party County(ies) represented Term Up
1 Don Gaetz Rep Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton Washington, part of Okaloosa 2016
2 Greg Evers Rep Escambia, Santa Rosa, part of Okaloosa 2014
3 Bill Montford Dem Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla 2016
4 Aaron Bean Rep Nassau, part of Duval 2014
5 Charles S. Dean, Sr. Rep Baker, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, Union, part of Marion 2016
6 John E. Thrasher Rep Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, part of Volusia 2014
7 Rob Bradley Rep Alachua, Bradford, Clay 2016
8 Dorothy Hukill Rep Parts of Lake, Marion and Volusia 2014
9 Audrey Gibson Dem Part of Duval 2016
10 David H. Simmons Rep Seminole, part of Volusia 2014
11 Alan Hays Rep Parts of Lake, Marion, Orange and Sumter 2016
12 Geraldine Thompson Dem Part of Orange 2014
13 Andy Gardiner Rep Parts of Brevard and Orange 2016
14 Darren Soto Dem Parts of Orange, Osceola, Polk 2014
15 Kelli Stargel Rep Parts of Orange, Osceola, Polk 2016
16 Thad Altman Rep Parts of Brevard and Indian River 2014
17 John Legg Rep Parts of Hillsborough and Pasco 2016
18 Wilton Simpson Rep Hernando, parts of Pasco and Sumter 2014
19 Arthenia Joyner Dem Parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas 2016
20 Jack Latvala Rep Part of Pinellas 2014
21 Denise Grimsley Rep Okeechobee, parts of Highlands, Martin and Osceola, Polk, and St. Lucie 2016
22 Jeff Brandes Rep Parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas 2014
23 Garrett Richter Rep Parts of Collier and Lee 2016
24 Tom Lee Rep Part of Hillsborough 2014
25 Joseph Abruzzo Dem Part of Palm Beach 2016
26 Bill Galvano Rep DeSoto, Glades, Hardee 2014
27 Jeff Clemens Dem Part of Palm Beach 2016
28 Nancy Detert Rep Sarasota, part of Charlotte 2014
29 Jeremy Ring Dem Part of Broward 2016
30 Lizbeth Benacquisto Rep Parts of Charlotte and Lee 2014
31 Chris Smith Dem Part of Broward 2016
32 Joe Negron Rep Parts of Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie 2014
33 Eleanor Sobel Dem Part of Broward 2016
34 Maria Sachs Dem Parts of Broward and Palm Beach 2014
35 Gwen Margolis Dem Part of Miami-Dade 2016
36 Oscar Braynon Dem Parts of Miami-Dade and Broward 2014
37 Anitere Flores Rep Part of Miami-Dade 2016
38 René García Rep Part of Miami-Dade 2014
39 Dwight Bullard Dem Hendry, Monroe, parts of Collier and Miami-Dade 2016
40 Miguel Díaz de la Portilla Rep Part of Miami-Dade 2014

District map[edit]

Districts and party composition of the Florida Senate following the 2012 elections

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Florida Constitution Online (accessed May 22, 2013)
  2. ^ a b Senate Handbook, 2012-2014, Florida Senate (accessed May 22, 2013)
  3. ^ Florida Senate (accessed May 22, 2013)

External links[edit]