On October 2, 2009, Senate President Jeff Atwater revised the membership of several Senate committees. Some changes in committee assignments were necessary after the resignation of Sen. Ken Pruitt (R-Port St. Lucie) and the death of Sen. James E. “Jim” King, Jr. earlier in the year. The Senate committee changes were not as dramatic as the changes in House committees announced by Speaker Larry Cretul (R-Ocala) in September 2009.
Newly elected Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart), who was elected to replace Sen. Pruitt in a special election on August 4, 2009, will chair the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, replacing Sen. Lee Constantine (R-Altamonte Springs). Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) will chair the Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee, succeeding the late Sen. King. Sen. Diaz de la Portilla is the Senate Majority Leader, but did not chair any committees in 2009.
In his memo announcing the committee changes, Sen. Atwater also noted that further changes will be required when the special election to fill Sen. King's seat is certified. Former House Speaker John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) won the special primary election on September 15, 2009 and faces only write-in opposition in the October 6, 2009 special general election.