ICYMI: Orange County Overwhelmingly Approves “Rights of Nature” Charter Amendment

 LitigationandRegulatoryReformCenter
November 4, 2020

 ICYMI: Orange County Overwhelmingly Approves “Rights of Nature” Charter Amendment

While the Presidential Race continues to dominate the news on the heels of an evening that saw 97% of Florida Chamber-backed candidates  emerge victorious in state races, the Florida Chamber is closely monitoring a lesser-noticed local referendum that has worrying implications for our state’s continued economic growth.   

Last night, 89% of voters in Orange County voted to adopt charter Amendment 1, which establishes legal rights for water bodies and other natural systems. This amendment is part of the larger “rights-of-nature” movement, a fringe legal philosophy with dramatic implications for property rights, regulatory certainty, local government permitting power, and smart growth. Under this approved amendment, any citizen can file a lawsuit on behalf of an environmental feature, such as a river, forest or ecosystem. Although adoptions of this legal philosophy would result in a complete reconstruction of environmental law and judicial standing, not to mention an avalanche of litigation, proposals like this sound superficially attractive to voters, only highlighting the need to nip this fringe movement in the bud.  

Fortunately, the Florida legislature passed Florida Chamber-backed legislation in the 2020 Legislative Session that preempted and outlawed this rights-of-nature movement in Florida. SB 712 passed with significant bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor DeSantis. Previously, the Florida Chamber helped turn back a similar special interest effort to insert this fringe legal theory into our State Constitution during the Constitution Revision Commission. Now that this Orange County charter amendment has passed in conflict with state law, the Florida Chamber expects to fight this measure in the courts and we need your help.  

Please forward this email to your legal or permitting managers and encourage them to contact Policy Director Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com with questions about this harmful measure or to join our efforts to fight it in the courts. We will be sending further emails as this develops over the coming weeks.


Florida Chamber of Commerce  www.FloridaChamber.com   l  Unsubscribe
136 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301 (850) 521-1200

Senate Committee Passes E-Verify Proposal

On February 11, 2020, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an E-Verify proposal, SB 664, but not before making dramatic changes.

The original deeply problematic bill was amended to include important provisions, including safe harbor provisions for businesses following the law as well as protections for small businesses.

The Florida Chamber shared its support of the amendment, sponsored by Senator David Simmons, in advance of the committee meeting, and Florida Chamber Policy Director Christopher Emmanuel testified in support of the amendment during the committee meeting.

“The amendment provides significant improvements to the original bill,” Emmanuel shared with lawmakers and told the Miami Herald.

The Florida Chamber will always have reservations on state-specific mandates, especially on areas of policy that should be handled at the federal level of government. But Senator Tom Lee, the sponsor of the bill, said in committee that this bill is still a work in progress.

The Florida Chamber looks forward to being a part of the conversation.

Share Your Thoughts

Share your thoughts on SB 664 with Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com.

Opposing New Mandates on Job Creators

Preventing a Patchwork of Regulations

Despite strong opposition from unions and big government organizations, a Florida House committee today advanced a Florida Chamber of Commerce-backed bill preempting employment regulations and mandates on job creators to the state.

Florida Chamber 2019 Most Valuable Legislator Representative Bob Rommel is sponsoring HB 305, which gives job creators greater certainty, and prevents a patchwork of local regulations on job classifications, scheduling and more.

The Florida Chamber thanks Rep. Rommel and the House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee for standing up for job creators.

Are Regulations Getting in Your Way?

While elected leaders have worked to provide regulatory certainty at the state level, there’s more work to be done at the federal and local level. The Florida Chamber Litigation and Regulatory Reform Center is working to ensure red tape isn’t getting in the way of job creation. Share your ‘regulatory horror story’ with us today.

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Florida Voters Strong on Governor DeSantis, Down on Impeachment Removal from Office, Concerned Most About Healthcare Costs and Finding Skilled Workers

Latest Florida Chamber Political Poll and Small Business Survey Show

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 21, 2020) – Governor Ron DeSantis continues to enjoy strong approval ratings among voters (68-18 percent), which is helping bolster voters’ feelings that Florida is moving in the right direction (63 to 24 percent), according to the latest statewide poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

And as the impeachment trial gets underway in the U.S. Senate today, Florida voters do not approve of the Senate removing President Donald Trump from office, with 52 percent of voters disapproving and 43 percent approving.

While healthcare tops the list of issues voters would like the Florida Legislature to tackle this session (18 percent), the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey shows that job creators are still most concerned about finding qualified workers to fill the 284,800 open jobs.

“Floridians are confident in Governor DeSantis and, while they’re concerned about healthcare costs and workforce quality, support his efforts to help keep Florida moving in the right direction and champion solutions,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

With the road to the White House running through Florida, presidential head-to-head races show Donald Trump leading Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Mike Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Governor DeSantis Approve/Disapprove:

68% approve
18% disapprove
14% unsure

Florida Right/Wrong Direction:


63% right direction
24% wrong track
13% not sure

After impeachment, should President Trump be removed from office?


TOTAL VOTERS:
52% disapprove, 43% approve
DEMOCRATS: 73% approve, 20% disapprove
NPA’s: 50% approve, 46% disapprove
REPUBLICANS: 87% disapprove, 9% approve

What issues should the legislature address?


Healthcare Costs 18%
Jobs/Economy 12%
Environment 9%
Education 9%
Immigration 6%

What’s keeping job creators up at night?

Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey
Workforce quality 28%
Healthcare Costs 13%
Government Regulations 12%
Economic Uncertainty 10%

Presidential Head-to-Heads


                            Head-to-Head                  DEM               REP                NPA

Trump/Biden             49/45                          16/78              88/7                41/51

Trump/Warren          50/43                          17/75              90/7                41/50

Trump/Bloomberg    49/44                          16/75              87/8                40/53

Trump/Buttigieg        50/43                          19/72              87/9                40/51

In addition to measuring where voters stand on candidates and issues, the latest polling results show that NPAs continue to lead in voter registrations. In December, the latest month for which the state has data, 29 percent of new voters registered as Democrats, 34 percent registered as Republicans, and 37 percent registered as NPA – for a total of 50,733 total voter registrations in Florida. Total state voter registrations show 37 percent are Democrats, 35 percent are Republicans and 28 percent are NPAs.

ABOUT THIS POLL:

The Florida Chamber of Commerce political poll was conducted on January 3-12,2020 by Cherry Communications during live telephone interviews of likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The sample size included 247 Democrats, 241 Republicans and 120 Others for a total of 608 respondents statewide. The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber are consistently drawn from likely voters and newly registered voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters.  Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Survey Says…Workforce Quality Still Keeping Job Creators Up at Night

Even though Florida is outpacing the national average is jobs created, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s First Quarter Small Business Index Survey show that workforce continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses. The is the 11th quarter out of 12 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concern.

“While Florida’s job creators should expect a strong 2020, continuing to outpace the nation in job creation, they continue to be highly concerned about finding qualified workers.”

Dr. Jerry Parrish
Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation

While the probability of a recession is declining, Florida’s job creators are now much more concerned about government regulations and mandates for Florida businesses, which entered the top three.

The Florida Chamber’s first quarter Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

• Workforce Quality – 28 percent
• Healthcare Costs – 13 percent
• Government Regulations – 12 percent
• Economic Uncertainty – 10 percent
• Lawsuit Abuse – 4 percent

Despite their concern about workforce quality, job creators expect higher sales than last year. Of Florida small businesses, 69 percent of respondents expect to have higher sales than the previous year. Additionally, 49 percent of respondents expect to hire in the next six months, up from 39 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

Glenda Hood
Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council
Member, Florida Chamber Board of Directors
President, Hood Partners

Click here to download the full report.

Get Involved

The Florida Chamber recognizes that small business is big business. To learn more about becoming a member of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com or (850) 521-1235.

Florida Chamber Releases 2020 Jobs Agenda

FLORIDA CHAMBER’S 2020 JOBS AGENDA

Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 200,000 New Jobs in 2020

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.”

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 13, 2020) – Job creators are gathering in Tallahassee this week with optimism that Florida can keep the momentum going, create 200,000 new jobs this year, and strengthen Florida’s economy even more through actions by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, job creators have released the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, which highlights where the Florida Chamber stands on key legislative decisions. 

Business leaders from throughout Florida are gathering this week at the Capitol as part of the Florida Chamber’s Annual Legislative Fly-In, and are sharing the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda which will help create jobs, lower the cost of living and lift incomes – with the belief that Florida’s best days are yet to come.

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community for good to:

– Lower the Cost of Living,
-Reduce the Cost of Doing Business, and
-Better Prepare for Florida’s Future Growth.

These are ideas outlined in Florida’s 2030 Blueprint, commonly known as Florida’s next Strategic Plan.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Charles Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Fisher Phillips.

For the last nine years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. As Florida will grow at approximately 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 200,000 new jobs in 2020 and that the Sunshine State has a lower probability of recession than last year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2020 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:

Lawsuit abuse essentially amounts to additional taxes on Florida families over $4,000 each year. Florida’s lawsuit climate currently ranks 46 out of 50 in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • The Florida Legislature should improve Florida’s legal climate by passing common-sense reforms to curtail abuse of Florida’s legal system.

“If we make the legal climate so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said when the national survey ranking Florida’s lawsuit climate among the nation’s worst was released.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:

Discouraging and anti-competitive tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and lack of internet sales tax collection, make Florida less competitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and modernizing Florida’s tax code to collect sales tax on internet transactions from out-of-state retailers.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

According to www.TheFloridaScorecard.org, there are 284,800 jobs looking for people and 323,000 people looking for jobs. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Continue to focus on early learning, talent and workforce shortage solutions. 
  • Continue to support the legislatively-created Talent Development Council to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system. This also supports Governor DeSantis’s efforts to have the number one workforce in America.

By 2030, 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for forward-thinking infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Continue to make long-term investments in energy, transportation, resiliency and water policy for Florida’s future.

Florida is currently experiencing a shortage of access to high-value, quality healthcare and that is a problem that will continue to grow as Florida’s population grows. That is why we support expanding scope of practice laws to allow for greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership encourages the Florida Legislature to:

  • Support expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practitioners and allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community for good, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber will track each bill on the Florida Business Agenda, and votes will be used as the basis for grading lawmakers at the conclusion of the Legislative Session. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to keep Florida’s momentum going.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Florida Business Agenda can be downloaded HERE.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Lawsuit Abuse Reform: Be Part of the Solution

“If we make the (legal climate) so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate.”

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS

Reforming Florida’s Legal Climate

You’ve seen the ads…promises made for hefty awards because trial lawyers are “looking out for you.”

Lawsuit abuse is the number one reason Florida’s legal climate ranks among the worst in the country – 46 out of 50, and it’s hurting our ability to compete. Florida’s toxic legal climate is costing Floridians to the tune of $4,442 per household – that’s $1,100 a year more than the national average.

That’s why the Florida Chamber is leading the charge and taking on decades of lawsuit abuse and declaring war on Florida’s poor lawsuit climate. It’s why we’ve joined with Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida legislature to put consumers over trial lawyers.

Now more than ever, Florida’s business community must unite for good to help transform Florida’s legal climate from the bottom five to among the best in the country.

Register today to attend the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Fly-In and learn how you can join the fight to ensure Florida’s bottom five legal climate reflects its past and not its future.

Probability of a Florida Recession Continues to Drop and New County Data Available

According to Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, Florida’s probability of a recession declined for the second month in a row. This news along with new county data added to TheFloridaScorecard.org are topics discussed in the latest By the Numbers.

Access to high-speed communications is vital in today’s technical economy. The Florida 2030 Blueprint includes an infrastructure goal that by 2030, 100 percent of Florida residents will have access to high-speed communications. To learn the percentage of residents in your county with access to high-speed internet, visit www.TheFloridaScorecard.org.

Registration Closing Soon

Registration is closing soon for the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit on December 5th in Hollywood. Click here for an updated list of speakers and register today to hear from the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition, Trade Committees, Department of Transportation Secretary, Legislators and many others on how Florida will need to adapt and plan for Florida’s future.

Florida’s Small Businesses Point to Workforce Quality as Top Concern Keeping Them Up at Night

Despite Concern, Job Creators Anticipate Higher Sales

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 22, 2019) — Even though Florida is outpacing the national average in jobs created, workforce quality continues to be the top concern among Florida small businesses, according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index Survey. This is the 10th quarter out of 11 that small businesses have ranked this issue among their top concern. Despite this concern, job creators expect higher sales than last year.

“It is likely that Florida will continue to outpace the U.S. in terms of job growth in 2020,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Although Florida’s small businesses are not quite as optimistic about their outlook for the economy as in past surveys, 70 percent of them expect to have higher sales next year than during the previous year.” See additional commentary from Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish in his latest By The Numbers program.

While the probability of a recession is improving, according to the latest data on TheFloridaScorecard.org, economic uncertainty remains a top small business owner concern, survey results reveal. Despite this concern, Florida’s overall economy is robust and expanding, and in fact, it has become the 16th most diversified economy in the country, and unemployment numbers continue to decline.

The Florida Chamber’s Fourth Quarter Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 28%
  2. Economic Uncertainty – 14%
  3. Growth Management Process – 12%
  4. Healthcare Costs – 9%
  5. Government Regulation – 8%

Of Florida’s small businesses:

  • 49 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve over the next three years,
  • 41 percent of responders believe their business is better off now than it was just six months ago, and
  • 41 percent of businesses have plans to make investments in plants or equipment, down from 43 percent one year ago.

“Workforce quality continues to be the number one concern of Florida’s small businesses, with economic uncertainty coming in second,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founding Partner, Hood Partners. “Small businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically September 10 through October 14, 2019. Thirty-four percent of respondents employ less than five employees, while 49 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

2019 Future of Florida Forum: Why You Want a Seat at the Table

Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson invites you to join Florida’s leaders as we discuss the issues that will impact the future of your community and Florida’s economy.

Join Florida leaders as we discuss:

• Florida’s rapidly changing economic, demographic and political changes and how they impact your future,
• Where Florida’s growth will be and in what industries,
• Florida’s key trends, headwinds, tailwinds and key projections,
• The latest leadership strategies to solve Florida’s talent gap,
• Fixing Florida’s broken lawsuit abuse problem,
• Preparing Florida’s infrastructure and transportation systems for growth,
• Promoting economic opportunity for all Floridians, and more!

Future of Florida Forum
October 28-29, 2019
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Orlando

2020 Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Did you know more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty? Of those, more than 260,000 are under age 5.

Join business and industry leaders as well as elected officials and community voices us as we analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s zip codes. We will also discuss best practices around the state, how they can be replicated and more. Conversations will also focus around 10 topic areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Food, Safety, Child care, Justice, Transportation and Agency-Community voice.

Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
May 19, 2020
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

To have your logo featured here, click here or contact Aaron Kinnon at AKinnon@FlFoundation.org.

A Talented Workforce and the Rising Probability of a Recession Leave Florida’s Small Businesses Feeling Uncertain

Latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey Shows

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (July 22, 2019)— While Florida’s small businesses continue boosting the state’s economy, finding qualified workers to fill available jobs tops the list of issues keeping small business owners up at night, survey results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Third Quarter Small Business Index Survey show. 

“Florida’s small businesses continue to be concerned about being able to hire a talented workforce,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation. “Improving Florida’s talent pipeline for a better workforce will help ensure jobs have talented employees, and will help put workers on the path to prosperity – leading goals of Florida 2030, Florida’s next strategic plan.”

Concerns over a likely recession are also creating economic uncertainty among job creators, the survey shows. However, while Florida’s small businesses are cautious, the state’s economy is healthy and expanding. Florida is now the 18th most diversified economy in the country, and there are rising numbers of open jobs and a declining amount of people looking for jobs.

The Florida Chamber’s third quarterly statewide Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

  1. Workforce Quality – 27%

2. Economic Uncertainty – 12%

3. Growth Management Process – 8%

4. Government Regulations – 7%

5. Healthcare Costs – 7%

Of Florida’s small businesses, 47 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, down from 57 percent one year ago and 70 percent two years ago. They also felt that a positive indicator for businesses is that 24 percent of respondents thought it would be easier to get financing in the next six months, compared to 15 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“Florida’s economy is dependent on the small business community, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and President, Hood Partners LLC.

About the Survey:

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically June 6 through July 5, 2019. Fifty-six of respondents employ less than five employees, while 32 percent employ five to 49 employees. Click HERE to view the full report.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

2019 Environmental Permitting Summer School

The Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School is attended by more than 850 attorneys, consultants, engineers, state and local government officials, developers, landowners and others with a strong interest in environmental issues in Florida.

Program features the most advanced and current instruction available on Florida’s environmental, energy and growth management laws, rules and programs. Attendees also have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits. 

Click here to learn more.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Names Representative Bob Rommel 2019 Most Valuable Legislator

Also Announces 18 Distinguished Advocate Award Recipients

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 20, 2019) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today awarded Representative Bob Rommel with the 2019 Most Valuable Legislator (MVL) award for his leadership in tackling Florida’s ‘Judicial Hellhole’ label. The MVL presentation was made during the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors meeting in Orlando.

The Florida Chamber’s MVL award is the business community’s premier legislative award honoring a single lawmaker for their outstanding legislative leadership and willingness to take a stand for free enterprise.

“Representative Rommel championed and led ending Florida’s lawsuit abuse problem that is costing Florida’s families over $4,000 each year, and has earned Florida an international reputation as a ‘Judicial Hellhole,’” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in a congratulatory video.

Upon news of the award, Representative Rommel said: “The Florida Chamber’s commitment to make sure Florida’s business community flourishes is unparalleled. I was very proud to work with them this year to advance and enact unprecedented business reform legislation that will unleash Florida entrepreneurs to grow, innovate, and create more jobs. I’m honored to receive this recognition from the Florida Chamber, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

DISTINGUISHED ADVOCATE AWARD RECIPIENTS:
Additionally, the Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate awards – recognizing lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation and advanced the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development – were announced.

“We’re pleased to recognize members of the Florida Legislature with the 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 of Commerce.

The 18 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2019 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate award include:

HOW THEY VOTED

The Florida Chamber also released its annual publication How They Voted – which provides the grades for all 157 legislators so business leaders can see who voted for or against job creation and economic growth.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Releases 2019 Legislative Report Card

98 Lawmakers Earn A’s and B’s; 59 Earn C’s, D’s, and F’s

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 21, 2019) – Ninety-eight members of the Florida Legislature earned A’s or B’s on the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Legislative Report Card, and helped lower the cost of living and cost of doing business on families and job creators, while also preparing for future growth and protecting Florida’s constitution, the state’s leading voice of business and largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and business association partners announced today.

Many lawmakers earned higher grades this legislative session with their renewed focus on important competitiveness issues like:

  • Property insurance, lawsuit abuse, regulatory and targeted tax reforms,
  • Innovations in healthcare, and high-quality workforce education and apprenticeship programs, and
  • Key smart growth issues like transportation, energy grid hardening, and autonomous and innovations.

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 4,000 votes cast during the 2019 Legislative Session, data shows:

  • 98 lawmakers earned an A or B; 59 lawmakers earned a C, D or F.
  • Average GPA for both legislative chambers was 79.37 percent.
  • Senate GPA was 84.59 percent, up from 74 percent in 2018.
  • House GPA was 77.59 percent, down slightly from 79 percent in 2018.

“We believe in transparency and accountability, and the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is a fantastic tool for families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters to know if their elected officials voted in support of lowering the cost of living and reducing the cost of doing business, while also preparing for Florida’s future,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

TRANSPARENT GRADING PROCESS:
The Florida Chamber’s legislative grading process is both transparent and accountable.

  • The Florida Business Agenda (FBA) was announced during a news conference prior to the 2019 Legislative Session which was attended by 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, and legislators and staff 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 4,000 scored votes letters were transmitted in advance.

Stay Tuned:
The Florida Chamber will soon announce 2019 legislative awards, including Distinguished Advocates and the Florida Chamber’s premier legislative award, the Most Valuable Legislator award. Past winners can be found here.

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