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 & Verification Division, and the Multimedia Services Division, each overseen by an Assistant Clerk. The Clerk's Office also is responsible for the long-standing tradition of the Florida House Page & Messenger Program.
The Deputy Clerk is editor-in-chief of House publications, performs historical research, and serves as a content expert on legislative process as it relates to the implementation of technology and the daily sessions of the House.
The Administrative staff in the Clerk's Office assists the general public in locating their state representatives, senators, and congressmen; provides statistical information; assists in bill tracking; and directs research questions to the appropriate individual or office.
The Assistant Clerk of the Legislative Process Division oversees the Calendar and Journal 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' web pages and maintains and publishes committee member and House staff information in various forms. They also publish the Clerk's Manual, the members' seating chart, members' composite, the Freshman House Members photo booklet, and other special projects.
The Journal Unit is responsible for producing the Journal and 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. Additionally, a daily action report is produced providing a summary of the major events that occurred during session. Printed copies are available to members and the public the following morning. 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's (and any special or extended session held that year) bound Journal is published, it replaces the original daily Journals. The Journal Unit is also responsible for maintaining and archiving audio files of House sessions and publishing the House Directory.
The Assistant Clerk of the Legislative Records & Verification Division oversees the Engrossing & Enrolling, Records Management, Verification, and Senate Messages Units:
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. The staff of this unit compiles and publishes the Guide to Florida Government, The People of Lawmaking in Florida, the Welcome to the Florida House of Representatives handbook, and other projects and publications.
The Records Management Unit is responsible for maintaining all bills in proper form until a final action is taken during session. The unit also coordinates 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 a letter of authorization to the Clerk from the sponsor is received. After session each year, this unit is responsible for an accounting of all bills that died. Before the next session, the bills are archived with the Department of State. This unit also updates and conducts research on statistics of the House, assists with the publishing of the Rules, and maintains the automated directory of the House.
The Verification Unit 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.
The Senate Messages Unit is responsible for legislation traveling between the two houses to ensure 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 unit 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. The Senate Messages Unit 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 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. These publications include the Clerk's Manual, Guide to Florida Government, and House directories, to name a few. 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. Forms are available in Leagis for orders to be submitted to this office electronically. These requests are then formatted and forwarded for processing and returned for packaging and delivery.
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.
The Page & Messenger Program has been 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 Clerk's Office 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.
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, councils, 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 for kids) – guidebook for kids to Florida government
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 Congress and U.S. Senators, 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