FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TALLAHASSEE, FL (March 31, 2016) – Just weeks after lawmakers ended the 2016 Legislative Session, Florida’s voice of business is releasing grades of all 160 members of the Florida Legislature and announcing that 14 legislators earned the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Advocate award for championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.
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 interest attempts to protect the status quo. After tabulating more than 5,400 votes cast during the 2016 Legislative Session, nearly 69 percent of state lawmakers earned an “A” (90-100) on the priority pro-jobs issues outlined in the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Business Agenda.
“The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card lets Florida’s families, small businesses, taxpayers and voters know if legislators voted in favor of job creation and a stronger economy, and provides them with valuable information as they begin to consider the 2016 election cycle,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber.
The Florida Chamber’s 2016 Legislative Report Card is an online tool that illuminates grades legislators earned based on their actual votes in support of pro-jobs, pro-business issues during the annual legislative session.
Building on the Florida Chamber’s multi-year competitiveness agenda, this year the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott approved more than $400 million in targeted tax relief, established comprehensive, science-based water policy, championed education reforms to help build a globally competitive workforce, and invested in infrastructure and transportation.
Analysis from the Florida Chamber’s 2016 Legislative Report Card:
- 30 Senators earned an “A” – up from 20 in 2015
- 80 Representatives earned an “A” – up from 61 in 2015, and
- Grade Point Average for Representatives was 90 percent and 91 percent for Senators – up from 83 percent and 89 percent respectively last year.
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.
“Early during the 2016 legislative process, the Florida Chamber encouraged lawmakers to focus on measures that would put Florida’s long-term future ahead of short-term politics,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber is pleased to present the Distinguished Advocate awards to lawmakers who have the courage to put free enterprise principles for job creation above special interests.”
The 14 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2016 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate award include:
- Senator Aaron Bean
- Senator Dorothy Hukill
- Senator Garrett Richter
- Senator Wilton Simpson
- Senator Kelli Stargel
- Representative Jim Boyd
- Representative Matt Caldwell
- Representative Manny Diaz, Jr.
- Representative Jay Fant
- Representative Erik Fresen
- Representative Matt Gaetz
- Representative Ed Narain
- Representative Kathleen Passidomo
- Representative Lake Ray
About the Report Card and Distinguished Advocates:
The Florida Chamber entered the 2016 Legislative Session by encouraging lawmakers to focus on making Florida’s business climate more competitive and lowering the cost of living for Florida’s families and small businesses. The Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs, Where We Stand, served as an important roadmap to educate lawmakers on the business community’s priorities.
Unique to the Florida Chamber’s Report Card, lawmakers were also notified prior to each vote impacting the Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs that their vote would be counted. The tabulated results of each of those votes result in the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card.
While 1,814 bills were filed, and 279 of them passed both chambers, the Florida Chamber has a focused agenda and the actual votes used to calculate the report card are those votes that tie directly to the Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs. In the past five years, Governor Scott has had a perfect batting average in signing all 122 Florida Chamber-backed bills into law.
“I’m extremely proud of the great work of the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors, local chambers and the more than 30 lobbyists that have worked aggressively in support of free enterprise and job creation,” Hart said.
Moving forward, the Florida Chamber is already developing its 2017 Business Agenda, and the Florida Chamber’s Political Operations team, under the direction of Senior Vice President of Political Operations Marian Johnson, is actively enlisting pro-jobs, pro-business candidates to run in the 2016 election cycle.
The Florida Chamber will soon release How They Voted 2016, a detailed publication summarizing the priorities of the recent legislative sessions and incorporating the 2016 Legislative Report Card.
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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.