Historically, the Secretary of State in Florida was elected by the public, but that changed in 1998, when constitutional changes removed that position from the elected Cabinet of the executive branch. Now, 19 years later, Fernandina Beach Republican Sen. Aaron Bean wants to bring that position back into the Cabinet. At the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections meeting on Tuesday, Bean told his colleagues that the main motivation for his joint resolution (SB 882) is to add another member to the Cabinet, which currently consists of four members – the governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner.
“I always felt that it’s been odd,” Bean said. “We have some strange rules when it comes to voting with our cabinet,” referring specifically on the state rule that in two-two ties on Cabinet votes, the governor has to be on the prevailing side.
Bean said that fifth cabinet member needs to be “an independent Secretary of State who is accountable directly to the people.”
Concurring with Bean at the hearing was Sandra Mortham, who was Florida Secretary of State from 1995 to 1998, where she lost a bid for re-election in a GOP primary to Katherine Harris.