Monday, January 25, 2021

Due to security concerns, Florida Legislature will not approve outdoors meetings

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 10:23 AM

click to enlarge Florida's Capitol building in Tallahassee - ADOBE
  • Adobe
  • Florida's Capitol building in Tallahassee

Despite what some Senate Democrats would like, lawmakers will not head outside for committee meetings as the weather gets warmer.

“We have all that (Capitol) plaza, all the room of the portico, the new stuff. We could have lobbyists meetings; we could have public meetings out there,” state Sen. Loranne Ausley said during a Democratic caucus Zoom call last week. “I think we should be, you know, strongly advocating for that. I would feel much more comfortable meeting outside.”

Due to COVID 19-restrictions, members of the public and lobbyists who want to speak during Senate committee meetings can do so remotely, from rooms reserved at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center a few blocks from the Capitol. Committees are meeting in large rooms, allowing more room for senators and staff members to spread out.

Unlike the House, the Senate is prohibiting individual in-person meetings, even by appointment, in Senate offices.

Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer, D-Lighthouse Point, noted there has been some confusion as a few lobbyists last week made their way into the Senate office building, despite signs explaining the rule of no indoor in-person meetings.

Katie Betta, spokeswoman for Simpson, said Wednesday that Senate committee meetings will remain indoors.

“The President is certainly comfortable with and encourages senators to hold individual meetings outdoors at their discretion, but the Senate has no plans to move committee meetings outdoors at this time,” Betta said in an email. “As you can imagine, outdoor committee meetings pose a number of serious logistical concerns, the most important of which is security.”

Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation