Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?

Rep. Chris Dorworth’

New chapter for Dorworth is titled “Lobbyist”

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 by John Kennedy

Former Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Lake Mary Republican in line to become a future House Speaker until his upset defeat on Election Day, has reemerged as a lobbyist.

Ballard Partners, the major lobbying firm led by Republican fund-raiser Brian Ballard, announced Tuesday it has hired the three-term lawmaker to run its Orlando office. Florida law bars former legislators from lobbying their ex-colleagues for two years after leaving office, but Dorworth is eligible to work the governor’s office, Cabinet and state agencies.

““Having the opportunity to join Florida’s leading public affairs firm is an incredible beginning to the next chapter in my career,” Dorworth said. “I look forward to contributing to the already exceptional team at Ballard Partners and building a strong, first
class public affairs presence in Central Florida.”

Dorworth lost by a 146-vote margin to Democrat Mike Clelland. Dorworth, who was set to take the top job in the House in 2014, became the first speaker-designate to lose re-election since Democrat Sam Bell in 1988.


House Republicans look ready to elect Crisafulli as ’14 Speaker

Friday, November 9th, 2012 by John Kennedy

The apparent upset loss of Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Lake Mary Republican in line to become state House speaker in 2014, led Friday to the emergence of another Central Florida Republican as likely leader of the chamber that year.

Rep. Steve Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican just elected to his third House term, is gaining support from fellow Republicans for the post.

Dorworth, who  is now trailing Democrat Mike Clelland by 123 votes after provisional ballots were counted Thursday by Seminole County elections officials, has released his supporters to find a new leader, said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach.

“Nobody has done more for other members than Chris Dorworth,” Gaetz said. “But we have to make a decision in a state of great sadness.”

Crisafulli, 41, is a real-estate broker and in the agribusiness, who most recently was chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, and also served on the House Redistricting Committee. He is a descendant of Doyle Carlton, Florida’s Democratic governor from 1929-1933, and Vassar Carlton, a Florida Supreme Court justice in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“We need to look at what’s next,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, another Crisafulli supporter. “Steve’s got depth and he’s a work horse, not a show horse.”

Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is set to take over the House reins at the Legislature’s organizational session later this month. Although Dorworth’s defeat looks almost certain, Weatherford has not publicly unveiled any plans for succession.

The Dorworth-Clelland contest is expected to be subject of a recount by elections officials Sunday. But House Republicans said Crisafulli is likely to be named Dorworth’s successor by no later than Monday.


House gives nod to Realtors and OK’s prop tax cut for ballot

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 by John Kennedy

Florida voters would get a chance to reduce property taxes on commercial buildings, second-homes and other investment purchases under legislation Monday clearing the House 105-11.

The measure, targeted for next year’s presidential primary ballot, now slated for Jan. 31, would reduce the annual growth in assesed value from 10 percent to five percent. The legislation also allows for a first-time homebuyer’s tax break amounting to 50 percent of the median value of homesteaded property in a county.

“This is the jobs vehicle that you’ve heard discussed,” said Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, sponsor of the measure (CS/HJR 381), which still needs Senate approval. “When (businesses) can shift tax payments to new capital, you’re going to get jobs.”

Before the House vote, Dorworth mentioned several members of the Florida Realtors as instrumental to the legislation. Florida Realtors steered millions of dollars to the state Republican Party for last fall’s elections, and have pushed the measure as a means to help kick-start an economy awash with a backlog of homes in a state that is among the nation’s leaders in foreclosures.

Opponents said the proposed constitutional amendment — if approved by 60 percent of voters — would only build on property-tax inequities in the state’s Save Our Homes standard, approved by voters almost 20 years ago.

“There are better ways to get at attacking the tax inequities in Florida,” said Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth.

Open carry gun bill hits the mark in House

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Legislation allowing concealed weapons holders to openly carry their firearms sailed through a House panel Tuesday — nudged along by its sponsor, House Speaker-in-waiting, Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary.

The 10-3 vote in the Criminal Justice subcommittee came despite opposition from law enforcement, which also has been urging the Senate to shelve a similar measure, a favorite of the National Rifle Association and its state affiliate, Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

Hillsborough County sheriff’s officials Tuesday warned that allowing Floridians to openly wear a holstered sidearm would add a new level of uncertainty to many crime scenes. They said it might be tough for officers to separate the bad guys from a gun-toting civilian.

“In our business, the difference between living and dying on the job often is one moment of hesitation,” said Major Thomas Feeney.

Florida retailers and car dealers also are arguing against the legislation, saying they fear pistol-packing clients coming into their businesses.

Dorworth and supporters, though, say the legislation (HB 517) merely cuts some slack for permit-holders. It’s now possible, backers say, for those authorized to carry a weapon to be cited if the wind blows a jacket or shirt aside to expose their firearm.

Dorworth, like Senate sponsor, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, has stripped from the bill a provision that would’ve allowed open-carry on college campuses. Supporters backed off following pleas from many campus police departments and the emotional testimony of the father of an Florida State University student accidently shot dead in January by another student.

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories