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Speaker Hyatt Brown (D-Daytona Beach) RIGHT turns over the reins of the Joint session of the Legislature to President Phil Lewis (D-West Palm Beach). 1979

President Mallory Horne (D-Tallahassee, Former Speaker) LEFT and Speaker Terrell Sessums (D-Tampa) were not too disturbed by the amount of work facing the Legislature when it opened in 1974.

Representative Lewis Whitworth LEFT and Representative Joe Lang Kershaw (both D-Miami) indicated their votes to repeal the “cane pole” fishing tax, but the tax bill passed, April 29, 1971. Representative Kershaw, in 1968, was the first African American elected to the House since Reconstruction.

In 1976, Representative Herb Morgan (D-Tallahassee) and Senator Pat Thomas (D-Quincy) sponsored bills to keep at least parts of the historic 140-year-old structure from the wrecking ball. Seen here cutting the ribbon at the dedication of the Historic Capitol on September 9, 1982, LEFT TO RIGHT Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner (D-Starke, Former Speaker), First Lady Adele Graham, Supreme Court Justice Joe Boyd, Representative Morgan, Bruce Smathers (D-Jacksonville, Former Senator, Former Secretary of State), Senator Thomas, Governor Bob Graham (D-Miami), and President W.D. Childers (D-Pensacola). Opposition in the House was led by Speaker Donald Tucker (D-Tallahassee) who, said Morgan, “handled the debate with great dignity, without using the power of his speakership to get his way.” In 1978, both houses passed a bill to restore the Old Capitol to its 1902 dimensions.

Governor Reuben O’D. Askew addresses one of the last Joint Sessions in the Old Capitol. 1977

Representative Herb Morgan (D-Tallahassee) kneels at the desk of Senator Harry Johnston (D-West Palm Beach, Future Congressman) as the two Appropriations Chairmen work at closing a gap in finances. June 1983.

On May 5, 1994, seventy-one years after the 1923 Rosewood massacre in which white lynch mobs killed blacks and drove survivors into the swamps near a prosperous black community in Florida, Governor Lawton Chiles signed House Bill 591 into law, providing for the payment of $2.1 million in reparations to the descendants of the black victims of Rosewood. Governor Chiles SEATED shakes hands with descendant Arnett T. Doctor, Sr. who spearheaded the effort. STANDING LEFT TO RIGHT Representative Cynthia Chestnut (D-Gainesville), Representative Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville, Future Senator), Representative Addie Greene (D-Magnolia Park), Senator Matt Meadows (D-Ft. Lauderdale, Future Representative), Representative Miguel De Grandy (R-Miami), Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay (D-Ocala, Former Representative, Former Senator, Former Congressman), Representative Willye Dennis (D-Jacksonville), Representative Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee, Future Senator), and Representative James Bush III (D-Miami). The bill sponsor NOT SHOWN is Senator Daryl Jones (D-Miami, Former Representative).

Governor Millard Caldwell (D-Santa Rosa, Former Representative, Former Congressman, Future Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice) signed the 1947 Minimum Foundation legislation to establish basic standards for elementary school programs statewide, raise the quality of teachers, and establish co-education at the Florida State University and the University of Florida. Looking on are LEFT TO RIGHT Representative F. Wilson Carraway (D-Leon, Future President), Representative Richard Simpson (D-Jefferson, Former Speaker), Representative Joe C. Jenkins (D-Alachua), Representative Norwood Strayhorn (D-Lee), Senator James A. Franklin (D-Lee), Representative C.H. Bourke Floyd (D-Franklin, Future Senator, Representative Payne Midyette (D-Leon), Senator W.A. Shands (D-Alachua, Future President), Senator LeRoy Collins (D-Leon, Future Governor), and Representative Ira J. Carter (D-Alachua).

The 1875 Legislature posed on the front steps of the Capitol includes Senator John Wallace (R-Tallahassee, Former Representative) FAR LEFT WITH CANE and Representative John Proctor (R-Tallahassee) FRONT ROW, HAT IN HAND. Senator Wallace wrote Carpetbag Rule in Florida. Prior to serving in the Legislature, Wallace was appointed a messenger of the Constitutional Convention of 1868 and after its adoption, he was elected Constable for Leon County, serving for two years.

Governor LeRoy Collins (D-Leon, Former Senator) signed the Junior College Act into law in 1955. Florida had four junior colleges in Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Chipola, and Pensacola. Within a few years, the Legislature would approve funding to initiate a community college system with the goal of placing a community college within a reasonable distance of every Floridian. Some of the legislators who worked toward its passage are LEFT TO RIGHT Representative Emmett Roberts (D-Palm Beach), Representative Fred O. Dickinson (D-Palm Beach, Future Senator, Future Comptroller), Senator Russell Morrow (D-Palm Beach, Former Representative), Representative Charles Johnson (R-Pinellas), Senator Frank Houghton (R-Pinellas), Representative B.E. Shaffer (R-Pinellas), Senator John Rawls (D-Leon), Representative J.B. Hopkins (D-Escambia), Senator Phillip Beall, Jr., (D-Escambia), Representative Webb Jernigan (D-Escambia).

In 1977, at the height of the debate over saving the Old Capitol, Representative Bill Nelson (D-Melbourne, Future Congressman, Future Commission of Insurance, Future Treasurer, Future U.S. Senator) threatened to throw his body in front of the first bulldozer that came to raze the historic building. When Representative Ralph Haben (D-Palmetto) wound up a toy bulldozer and sent it down the aisle, true to his word, Nelson blocked it.

Representative Alzo Reddick (D-Orlando) CENTER comments after being named chairman of the newly created House Black Affairs Office by Speaker Tom Gustafson NOT SHOWN in 1988 as LEFT TO RIGHT Representative Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville, Future Congresswoman), Representative James Burke (D-Miami), and Representative Willie Logan (D-Opa Locka) look on. Representative Burke, who had just completed a term of Speaker pro tempore, was the first African American in recent times to assume a House leadership position.

Representative Betty Easley (R-Largo) and Representative Bruce McEwan (R-Orlando use her schoolhouse sketches to make their point that the Florida Education Finance Program funding formula (FEFP) is in shambles. The formula, they said, had been tampered with to the point that it no longer served its original purpose. May 1986.

Secretary of the Senate Faye Blanton exchanges a legislative message with Clerk of the House John Phelps during the 2004 Legislative Session.

Among the many former legislators who distinguished themselves through their long service to the state were several of Governor Bob Graham’s elected Cabinet members. LEFT TO RIGHT Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner 1961-91(D-Leon, Former Rep., Former Speaker), Attorney General Jim Smith 1979-87, Commissioner of Education Ralph Turlington 1974-87 (D-Alachua, Former Rep., Former Speaker), Governor Graham (D-Dade, Former Rep., Former Senator, Future U.S. Senator), Comptroller Gerald Lewis 1975-95 (D-Dade, Former Representative, Former Senator), and Treasurer Bill Gunter 1976-89 (D-Orange-Seminole, Former Senator, Former Congressman). 1986

LEFT TO RIGHT Representative T.K. Wetherell (D-Daytona Beach, Future Speaker), Representative Fred Lippman (D-Hollywood), Representative Anne Mackenzie (D-Ft. Lauderdale), Speaker Tom Gustafson (D-Ft. Lauderdale), Representative Ron Saunders (D-Key West), President Bob Crawford (D-Winter Haven, Former Representative, Future Commissioner of Agriculture), Senator Tim Deratany (R-Indialantic, Former Representative), Senator Gwen Margolis (D-North Miami, Former Representative, Future President), Senator Jim Scott (R-Ft. Lauderdale, Future President) and a number of staff, press and lobbyists.

Senator Gwen Margolis (D-North Miami) LEFT got a congratulatory hug from Representative Elaine Gordon (D-North Miami) after being named the first woman nominated by the Democratic party to serve as President, in 1989. Five years earlier, Gordon was the first woman elected to be Speaker pro tempore.

Representative Marilyn Evans-Jones (R-Melbourne) was gubernatorial candidate Lou Frey's running mate in 1986. With her run, Evans ended a decade of service in the House. In 1997, she was a Constitutional Revision Commissioner.

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony for the R.A. Gray Building, November 7, 1973, are LEFT TO RIGHT President pro tempore Louis de la Parte (D-Tampa), Secretary of State Richard Stone (D-Miami, Former Representative, Future U.S. Senator), Representative Pat Thomas (D-Quincy), Former Secretary of State R.A. Gray, and Representative Don Tucker (D-Tallahassee, Future Speaker).

The last seven-member elected Cabinet included several former legislators, shown here with Governor Jeb Bush 1999-2006. LEFT TO RIGHT Comptroller Robert F. Milligan 1995-2002, Secretary of State Katherine Harris 1999-2002 (R-Charlotte-Lee-Sarasota, Former Senator, Future Congresswoman), Commissioner of Agriculture Robert B. Crawford 1991-2001 (D-Polk, Former Rep., Former Senator, Former Senate President), Attorney General Robert Butterworth 1987-2002, Governor Bush, Treasurer Bill Nelson 1995-2000 (D-Brevard, Former Rep., Former Congressman, Future U.S. Senator) and Commissioner of Education Tom Gallagher 1998-2001 (R-Dade, Former Representative, Treasurer, Former Commissioner of Insurance, Future Chief Financial Officer). 1999

Senate President Toni Jennings (R- Orlando) toasts the end of session with Speaker Dan Webster (R- Orlando) May 1998 Mark Foley

Governor Lawton Chiles appoints Douglas Jamerson (D-St. Petersburg) Commissioner of Education. 1994 Florida State Archives

House Minority Leader Ronald Richmond (R – Holiday) throws up his hands during discussions with Representative Sam Bell (D – Ormond Beach). 1983

John Thrasher (LEFT) congratulates Minority Leader Daniel Webster as Republicans become the majority party in the Florida House of Representatives for the first time in 122 years. November 1996

House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (R – Plant City) receives an electric guitar as a gift from the members of the House at the end of his term. Family members present include (LEFT TO RIGHT) daughter Shere, Mrs. Melane Byrd, and son Bryars. Shown at left is Byrd’s newly unveiled portrait. April 2004

Speaker Allan G. Bense (R – Panama City) takes the oath of office from Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente. Bense was escorted to the rostrum by fellow members along with his sister Judy Bense, son Taylor, son Jason, wife Tonie and daughter Courtney. November 16, 2004

Representative R. Z. ‘Sandy’ Safley (R – Clearwater) confers with Representative Dennis Jones (RIGHT) (R – Treasure Island) on the House floor. 1991

Representative Mary Grizzle (R – Clearwater) confers with fellow Republican legislators Roger Wilson (BACK TO CAMERA) (R – St. Petersburg) and Jim Tillman (R – Sarasota). Grizzle, one of the early female leaders in the Legislature, served in the House from 1963-1978 and in the Senate from 1978-1992. May 1971

Representative Pete Dunbar (R – Crystal Beach) discusses a rules question with (LEFT) Larry Smith (D – Hollywood) and (CENTER) James Harold Thompson (D-Quincy). 1981

Minority Leader Sandra Mortham (R – Largo), holds a press conference outside the House chamber with fellow members of the Republican Caucus. 1993

Republican Leader Jim Lombard (R – Osprey) uses a dynamite detonator to express his opposition to a pending redistricting proposal. 1992 Legislative Session

House Minority Leader Don Reed (R – Boca Raton) addressing the Legislature. 1971

Republican Leader Bill James (R – Delray Beach) calls for hard work and perfect attendance at all committees after being formally elected GOP Leader at a party caucus. November 1974

House Minority Leader Curtis Kiser (R – Clearwater) discusses his resolution to establish single member districts in the state. December 1978

Cattle Rancher Jim Tillman (R – Sarasota), House Minority Leader, is wondering how the meat boycott is going to affect the price of beef. At right is Representative Don Hazelton (R – West Palm Beach). April 1973

Former State Representative and Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Betty Easley reacts to media questions after being named to the Public Service Commission by Governor Bob Martinez. 1988

Speaker Tom Feeney (R – Oviedo) (LEFT) discusses an issue with (LEFT TO RIGHT) Representative Carlos Lacasa (R – Miami), Democratic Leader Lois Frankel (D – West Palm Beach), Former Representative Charles Canady (R – Lakeland) and Representative Mike Fasano (R – New Port Richey). 2002 Legislative Session