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Politics

Florida Chamber Unveils Its 2018 Legislative Report Card

April 5, 2018 - 3:00pm

With the 2018 legislative session done and dusted, the Florida Chamber of Commerce on Thursday released grades earned by all members of the Florida House and Senate on the Florida Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Report Card.

Here is the statement distributed to media outlets:

Lawmakers earned higher grades this session with their renewed focus on certain competitiveness issues such as cutting red tape, chipping away at Florida-only taxes, funding for economic development, tourism marketing and infrastructure investments, and targeted education reforms. 

But, the Florida Legislature also took significantly less total scored votes, leaving crucial competitiveness issues such as Florida’s bottom-five legal climate and ongoing workers’ comp crisis unaddressed in both chambers.

The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation above special interests and their attempts to protect the status quo.

KEY DATA POINTS

After tabulating more than 2,900 votes cast during the 2018 legislative session, data shows:

-- 47 percent of state lawmakers earned an “A” (90-100) on pro-jobs issues outlined in the Florida Chamber’s 2018 Business Agenda, compared to 9 percent last year.

-- Average GPA for both legislative chambers was 78 percent, compared to 73 percent in 2017.

-- Senate GPA was 74 percent – up from 70 percent in 2017.

-- House GPA was 79 percent – up from 74 percent in 2017.

-- 64 representatives earned an “A” – up from 13 in 2017.

-- 8 senators earned an “A” – up from 1 in 2017.
 

“The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card lets Florida’s families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters know if legislators voted in favor of private sector job creation and a stronger economy,” said David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber. “While there is always room for improvement and more work to be done, this legislative session’s grades showed many legislators took steps in the right direction on several policy fronts and voted to prevent harmful ideas from becoming law. We look forward to a session when every legislator earns an “A” and Florida’s competitiveness outranks every other state.”

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Despite several wins for Florida businesses, lawmakers failed to:

-- Stabilize Florida’s workers’ comp system and rein in the $1.5 billion cost increase to job creators,

-- Improve on Florida’s unfortunate, but well-known lawsuit abuse crisis,

-- Stop Assignment of Benefits fraud that’s driving up property and auto insurance rates on Floridians and small businesses, and

-- Increase investments in Florida’s workforce colleges to ensure good jobs for all.

TRANSPARENT GRADING PROCESS:

The Florida Chamber’s legislative grading process is both transparent and accountable.

The Florida Business Agenda (FBA) was announced prior to the 2018 session and was attended by bi-partisan and bicameral members of the legislature, and dozens of leaders from throughout Florida’s business community.

The Florida Business Agenda, outlined in Where We Stand, was hand delivered and mailed to each member of the Florida Legislature.

Florida Chamber leadership met with numerous newspaper editorial boards in advance of session.

Most importantly, prior to each vote graded on the report card, a “Your Vote Matters” letter outlining the pro-business position and the Florida Chamber’s intent to score the vote was transmitted to voting members of the legislature – in total, about 2,900 scored votes letters were transmitted in advance.

DISTINGUISHED ADVOCATE AWARD WINNERS:

The Florida Chamber’s Distinguished Advocate award recognizes lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation -- no matter how difficult -- and furthered the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development.

“We’re pleased to recognize members of the Florida Legislature with Distinguished Advocate awards who had the courage to put free enterprise principles for job creation above special interest,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber.

The 15 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2018 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate Award include these:

  • Rep. Ben Diamond – championed an amendment that would limit potential lawsuits against job creators.

  • Rep. Manny Diaz – led the Florida House’s education reform efforts and fought to pass Florida Chamber-backed computer science legislation.

  • Rep. Joe Gruters – a reliable and vocal partner in the fight for free enterprise, came to the defense of the Florida Chamber on the House Floor against unnecessary and inappropriate personal attacks.

  • Rep. Clay Ingram – worked to secure full funding for key economic development programs, including Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA.

  • Rep. Mike La Rosa – fought against the expansion of gambling in Florida and championed private property rights for vacation rentals. 

  • Rep. Jose Oliva – led the Florida House in passing responsible and necessary school safety measures in response to the Parkland tragedy.

  • Rep. Scott Plakon – sponsored legislation and fought against labor unions to promote transparency in the collective bargaining process; carried this effort for several years in a row dating back to 2011.

  • Rep. Holly Raschein – sponsored legislation that would allow state assumption of federal environmental permitting, a streamlining effort the business community has sought for decades.

  • Rep. Paul Renner — championed this year’s tax package, including a reduction in the Florida-only business rent tax, a longstanding Florida Chamber priority. 

  • Rep. Jay Trumbull – sponsored Florida Chamber-backed assignment of benefits legislation, which would help contain the rising cost of property insurance due to fraud.

  • Sen. Dennis Baxley – championed an amendment in the Florida Senate that would promote transparency in the collective bargaining process.

  • Sen. Bill Galvano – sponsored legislation and led the Florida Senate in passing responsible and necessary school safety measures in response to the Parkland tragedy.

  • Sen. David Simmons – sponsored legislation that would allow state assumption of federal environmental permitting, a streamlining effort the business community has sought for decades.

  • Sen. Wilton Simpson – worked to secure full funding for key economic development programs, including Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA.

  • Sen. Kelli Stargel – championed this year’s tax package, including a reduction in the Florida-only business rent tax, a longstanding Florida Chamber priority. 

MOVING FORWARD

Moving forward, the Florida Chamber’s Political Operations team, under the direction of Senior Vice President of Political Operations Marian Johnson, is actively engaging in electing pro-jobs, pro-business candidates in the 2018 election cycle. Soon, the Florida Chamber’s Political Institute will begin its statewide candidate interview tour --interviewing state House and Senatre candidates.

Comments

wish the "robber barons" never lived. Or for that matter all business owners. I am sure the country would be better off. let the government create all the jobs. Bring back the YUGO, yeah. amazing how little knowledge of history or sociology you liberal misfits have. if we could split the country in two with the job creators on one side and the whiners on the other. you couldn't build a big enough wall to keep them out after they ran our of food. look at Germany. of course they built the wall to keep them from escaping. by the way, when you use the word "robber baron" you are trying to rewrite history. they did not steal anything. the enormous wealth they accumulated did not exist before

The "Florida Chamber of Horrors" reveals some of its self-serving political machinations, "financed" with Citizen Taxpayer Money... SPARE US these "special interest" manipulators,...and ALL of their ilk !

What we really need around here is not a "Florida Chamber of Commerce" but, rather a "Florida Chamber of Consumers"!

What hogwash!I'll give those jokers an F-,only because there is no lower grade.We'll see you in November!

You liberals want to kill all the hard working job creators. You'll see us in November of 2018 just like you jokers did in 2016.

Most 'liberals' would be very happy just to return to the economic policies of Republican president Teddy Roosevelt!

I'm starting a new business and Trump's panel, metal f tariffs raised my cost 30%, making it marginal now. ................ Fact is jobs, the economy have done far better under Clinton, Obama, never recovered in 12 yrs under Reagan-Bush, caused a worldwide depression under Bush43 after starting with a $250B surplus and turned it into a $1.1T /yr deficit........ Now that is economic progress!! Not!.................... Obama brought us out a the depression with repubs sabotaging the economy with government shutdowns, refusing to pay the national debt, other self inflicted wounds and cut the deficit by 50% along with a great economy....................... Now Trump has already ballooned the deficits, doubling it in the first yr!!!................... Sorry but it is the repubs that kill jobs as you are about to find out............

Right on, Jerry! All this "job creation" BS is based on $8.50 and $10.00 per hour crap jobs ... and it's been Big Business' wet dream ever since the 'Robber Barons' were put down during the beginning of the 20th century! Reaganomics has made the rich richer and destroyed the middle class while turning more and more workers into little more than the 21st century version of Middle Age serfs! Average family disposable income (adjusted for inflation) hasn't improved in any significant way since the early 1970s. Time to go back to the economic policies of (REPUBLICAN) Teddy Roosevelt!

"jerry",.. I wish I could "see things" from YOUR 'point of view, but your head is so far up your own butt, that it's just not possible to even imagine YOUR 'point of view' !

cbreeze, our local racist nutjob troll doesn't like the facts that show what a gullible fool he and other far right are being played by those ripping them off....... Real smart ;^)

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