Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, wants the governor to call Cabinet meetings at least once every two months. Taddeo filed a measure (SB 642) on Thursday that backs arguments by state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who repeatedly expressed frustration last year about a lack of Cabinet meetings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Taddeo’s proposal would allow the attorney general, state chief financial officer or agriculture commissioner to force a meeting within 10 days if no meeting is held within a two-month period. The Cabinet officer calling the meeting would also get to propose the agenda. The bill is filed for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 2. Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Cabinet — Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Fried — have scheduled eight meetings this year, double the 2020 total.
Cabinet meetings are set for Feb. 2, March 9, May 4, June 15, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, Oct. 26 and Dec. 14. They had planned eight Cabinet meetings for 2020 before schedules were changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
DeSantis and the Cabinet met 14 times in 2019, including a meeting in Israel and one held by phone. By comparison, when then-Gov. Rick Scott, then-Attorney General Pam Bondi, then-CFO Jeff Atwater and then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam first entered office in 2011, they met 18 times. For the next six years, the annual number of meetings fluctuated between 11 and 15. Patronis replaced Atwater in 2017. In 2018, the Cabinet held nine meetings, including two teleconferences.
–News Service of Florida