Saturday, December 20, 2014

Office Of The Clerk


The Clerk of the House, a constitutional officer appointed by the Speaker with the consent of the members, is responsible for performing all of the ministerial duties of the House, and also serves as a source of proper legislative and parliamentary procedures. The Clerk's Office has three divisions: the Legislative Process Division, the Legislative Records Division, and the Multimedia Services Division, each overseen by an Assistant Clerk. 

The Administrative staff in the Clerk's Office assists the general public in locating their state representatives, senators, and members of Congress; provides statistical information; assists in bill tracking; directs research questions to the appropriate individual or office; and assists in the management of the website and House App.

The Civics Program, although with a new unit name, has had a long-standing tradition in the Florida House of Representatives. The historic Journals refer to Pages and Messengers as far back as 1868. Every year, approximately 240 students serve in the House assisting members with their duties. This unique experience allows students to learn about the legislative process. Each member may choose one Messenger and one Page to serve during session.

During the year, another function of the Civics Program is to conduct "Mock Sessions" for visiting schools or other groups who would like to learn more about the legislative process and the history of the Legislature. The My Florida House Facts & Fun book and other educational resources are produced by the Civics Program Coordinator.

The Assistant Clerk of the Legislative Process Division is the First Assistant Clerk and oversees the Calendar, Journal, Engrossing & Enrolling, and Verification & Senate Messages Units.

During the legislative interim, the Calendar Unit prepares an interim Calendar in advance of each week of committee meetings; during session, they produce a daily Calendar. The Calendar includes the assorted bill progress calendars which help determine where a particular bill is in the House legislative process and also includes information about committee meetings scheduled for that day and the following weekday. Daily Calendars are available both on the House legislative website and in printed form. The Calendar Unit also maintains the database for the members' information pages for the web and House App and maintains and publishes committee member and House staff information in various forms. 

The Journal Unit is responsible for producing the Journal which is the official record of the proceedings of the House as required by the Florida Constitution. The Journal serves as a legislative record of formal actions of the House but is not a verbatim transcript. Formal actions include the official recording of final votes on bills and amendments, the adoption of House resolutions, and a record of daily quorums. The daily Journal is produced overnight and published on the House website. Printed copies are available to members and the public the following morning. Additionally, a daily action report is produced providing a summary of the major events that occurred during a session. After the last day of session, the daily Journals are edited and reprinted as the final bound Journal, becoming the official record of the House. Once a regular session (and any special or extended session held that year) ends, the bound Journal is published, replacing the original daily Journals. The Journal Unit is also responsible for maintaining and archiving audio files of House sessions and publishing the House Directory.

Each time amendments are adopted into House bills by House or Senate floor action, a new version of the bill reflecting those changes is prepared by the Engrossing & Enrolling Unit. Once a bill has passed both houses of the Legislature, it is enrolled, signed by the presiding officers and the Clerk and Secretary, and presented to the Governor.

Verification is responsible for proofreading all printed materials produced by the Office of the Clerk including, but not limited to, engrossed and enrolled bills, daily and bound Journals, House directories, and all other publications or documents, in order to ensure the accuracy of such documents.

Senate Messages is responsible for legislation traveling between the two houses and ensures that bills received from the Senate arrive in proper form and are accompanied by a message accurately reflecting the Senate's action on a bill. This area is also responsible for sending messages to the Senate indicating the House's official action on a bill and actions requested of the Senate. Messages received from the Senate go to the House floor attached to a bill. Senate Messages keeps a record of all messages sent and received, since message language, speed, and accurate recordkeeping may mean the life or death of a bill.

The Assistant Clerk of the Legislative Records Division is House Historian and oversees the Records Management Unit.

The Records Management Unit is responsible for maintaining all bills in proper form until a final action is taken during session. The unit also receives and accounts for all amendments that are filed to bills. During the interim, staff members process requests for bills to be withdrawn prior to introduction, once authorization from the sponsor is received by the Clerk. After session each year, this unit is responsible for an accounting of all bills that died in the House and archiving the dead House bills with the Department of State. This unit also maintains official office records, conducts research, prepares statistics relating to the House, and assists with publishing of the House Rules and other publications.

The Assistant Clerk of the Multimedia Services Division oversees the Documents & Distribution, Duplicating & Graphic Services, and Photography Units.

During legislative sessions and interim committee weeks, the Documents & Distribution Unit distributes House bills, daily Journals, daily Calendars, engrossed and enrolled bills, and other publications.  A CD duplicating machine is available in this office for official use as well. This unit also processes business cards, note cards, and envelope orders. 

The Duplicating & Graphic Services Unit prints bills, session summaries, directories, the Calendar, the daily Journal, House publications, business cards, note cards, envelopes, and most other printed materials of the House of Representatives. During session, copies of floor amendments, vote sheets, meeting packets, individual House bills, and other related materials may be obtained from the Duplicating & Graphic Services Unit.

The Photography Unit provides session photography, individual shots of members, committee meetings, and other significant legislative events. In addition, the Photography Unit keeps the historic photo archives.

The Clerk's Office remains committed to broadening knowledge about the history of the House, as well as legislative and parliamentary process, and is often called upon to serve as an educational resource.


Publications of the Clerk's Office that you may find useful:

House Directory – directory of members, Tallahassee staff, House offices, and the committee structure
Freshman House Members – photo directory of the new members at the start of the biennial term
House Rules – adopted rules of the Florida House
The Clerk's Manual – comprehensive information on House and Senate members, districts, offices, and committees
Welcome to the Florida House of Representatives – handbook on House members, Florida government and legislative history, and interesting related facts
My Florida House Facts & Fun (Welcome to the Florida House of Representatives) – Florida government guidebook for kids
House Historic Murals – photos and descriptions of the 10 murals in the House Chamber depicting Florida's history, people, and culture
Guide to Florida Government – directory of all state agencies and other state offices, Florida's members of the U.S. House and Senate, and the Capitol Press Corps
The People of Lawmaking in Florida – directory of all current and former members of the Florida House, when they served, and other offices held
The Language of Lawmaking – glossary of words and terms used in the legislative process
Reconsiderations – anecdotal history of the Florida Legislature
The Florida Handbook – a wealth of information on Florida government, history, nature, economy, culture, and more

Robert Ward - Clerk of the Hosue
Clerk of the House
Bob Ward

513 The Capitol
402 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300

Office of the Clerk

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