Florida Senate President Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-FL-10) has removed Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Lauren Book (D-FL-32) from her post as chair of Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.
Simpson said the move was because of her dual leadership role.
“In my view, if anyone could take on a dual leadership role, it would be Leader Book,” Simpson wrote. “However, reassigning the role to another Senator is in the best interest of the institution. I look forward to a productive upcoming legislative session. The Senate has a long history of collegial work to serve the people of Florida, and I expect that we will continue to work together to craft meaningful legislation to address the unique set of challenges that we will face this year.”
Book was replaced by Sen. Ileana Garcia (R- District 37) who was elected to her district’s senate seat last year.
The Florida Senate posted on Twitter a quote from Simpson saying he has the confidence in Garcia to do her job well.
“Senator Garcia is a passionate advocate for the elderly, foster children, and victims of domestic violence,” Simpson said. “I have every confidence she will be an excellent committee chair.”
"Senator Garcia is a passionate advocate for the elderly, foster children, and victims of domestic violence. I have every confidence she will be an excellent committee chair." – @WiltonSimpson https://t.co/SoB8RKqq12
— Florida Senate (@FLSenate) September 9, 2021
Book said it was an honor to serve the committee as its chair and to have had a chance to “lead the Florida Senate in shaping smart, out-of-the-box policy to protect the health, safety and well-being of children and vulnerable adults.”
Book has been critical of Simpson’s and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ idea of putting forward a piece of legislation similar to Texas’ “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortions when a heartbeat can be detected. The time of heartbeat detection is typically around the six-week mark of pregnancy.
“Any attempt to emulate the Texas abortion ban is an all-out assault on women’s rights,” said Book. “The introduction of such a bill would send a clear message to me, and to other survivors of sexual assault, that we do not matter — that our state leaders care more about our rapists than about us.”
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ileana Garcia” by Senator Ileana Garcia. Photo “Lauren Book” by Lauren Book. Background Photo “Florida Senate Office” by Michael Rivera. CC BY-SA 3.0.