Florida Chamber’s Report Card Ranks State Lawmakers on Commitment to Pro-Jobs Agenda

Grading state lawmakers on their performances during the regular and special legislative sessions is an annual tradition for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. On Tuesday, the chamber unveiled this year’s Legislative Report Card to show voters which lawmakers were committed to promoting a pro-jobs agenda in 2015.

Due to a tumultuous regular legislative session, this year’s grades reflect fewer scored votes cast than previous years. Both chambers were tied up in an impasse over whether or not to expand Medicaid in Florida, a disagreement which ultimately pushed the Legislature into a special session in June.

“The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card lets Florida’s families and small businesses 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 chamber counted nearly 3,400 votes cast during the 2015 regular and special legislative sessions, approximately just half of the scored votes in previous years. Still, nearly 54 percent of state lawmakers earned an “A” (90-100) on the priority pro-jobs issues outlined in the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Business Agenda.

Legislators were graded for their commitment to the chamber’s agenda for this year’s legislative session. Targeted tax reforms, regulatory reform initiatives, championing education reforms and securing long-term solutions for Florida’s water needs were some of the chamber’s top priorities coming into the 2015 legislative session.

“Despite philosophical differences, lawmakers passed 20 Florida Chamber-backed measures during the two recent legislative sessions,” said Steve Knopik, chair of the Florida Chamber. “Unfortunately, there were a number of missed opportunities, resulting in fewer votes taken on issues that could help make Florida more competitive.”

Half of Florida’s senators earned an “A” grade, with eight of them (including Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando) earning a perfect “100” score.

House members didn’t fare quite as well as they had done in previous years — only 61 of them earned an “A” this year, a drop from 71 who received the same grade last year.

Two House members, Reps. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, and Matt Hutson, R-Naples, earned a perfect score on this year’s report card.

Other legislators didn’t fare so well on the report card. Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, received the lowest score of all representatives and senators in the Legislature, receiving an overall grade of 33 percent — an “F.”

Several other Democratic representatives also fell toward the bottom of the list, including Reps. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, and John Cortes, D-Kissimmee.

Sens. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, fared the worst of all the senators, both receiving “F” grades.

In total, nearly 1,800 bills were filed during this year’s legislative session, with 232 of them passing both chambers. The actual votes used to calculate the report card are those votes that tie directly to the Florida Chamber’s agenda for jobs.

“While I wish the regulations process would have allowed more courageous votes, 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.

Check out the full report card and see how your local lawmakers fared here.

Newest Florida Chamber Poll Shows Voters Confident, Yet Concerned About Federal Government

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

 

Former Governor Jeb Bush, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio Receive High Favorability Ratings

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (March 4, 2015) – Florida voters are increasingly more confident about the direction Florida is headed, yet remain significantly concerned about the federal government, according to the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) poll released today.

“Our results show Floridians are more confident in Florida’s economy,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Strategy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “These signs of optimism are good for our economy, for our families and for our small businesses. Despite the gridlock in Washington, D.C., this poll shows Florida is increasingly confident that Florida is moving in the right direction. As Governor Scott says, ‘It’s working,’ and the voters agree.”

Florida’s Right/Wrong Direction:

  • 46 percent of voters say Florida is heading in the right direction, compared to 32 who say wrong direction. This is a strong increase over October 2014, when polling data showed 43 percent to 38 percent respectively.

Congressional/Presidential Approval Rating:

  • 70 percent of Florida voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while President Obama’s job approval rating remains upside down at 47 percent approve compared to 51 percent who disapprove.

Possible Presidential Candidates:

  • Former Governor Jeb Bush’s favorability rating remains positive at 52 percent favorable compared to 33 percent unfavorable.
  • U. S. Senator Marco Rubio’s favorability rating is positive at 42 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable.
    Former U. S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating is within the margin of error with 48 percent favorable to 47 percent unfavorable.

Head-to-Head Primary Matchups:

President:
  • Jeb Bush earns 32 percent, followed by Scott Walker at 18 percent and Marco Rubio at 10 percent.
  • Jeb Bush vs. Marco Rubio only:  Bush earns 51 percent to Rubio’s 35 percent.
U. S. Senate:
  • Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz earns 42 percent, Congressman Alan Grayson is at 8 percent, Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Congressman Patrick Murphy tied at  7 percent each.

Other Findings Include:

Florida Families:

Families say they are financially better off today than a year ago.

  • Feb/March, 2015 – 36 percent better off; 25 percent worse off.
  • Feb/March, 2014 – 28 percent better off; 36 percent worse off.
Job Approval:
  • Governor Rick Scott – 48 percent approve of the job he’s doing.
    Florida Legislature – 42 percent approve of the job they’re doing.
Top Issue of Concern:
  • Jobs/Economy – 22 percent,
    Education – 17 percent,
    Healthcare – 8 percent, and
    Immigration – 7 percent.

Methodology:

Eight hundred and two Florida voters were interviewed by professional telemarketers February 18-23, 2015. The sample was drawn from frequent voters and respondents were again screened for voter registration by telemarketers. The sample was balanced according to all known demographic factors. Sixty-five percent of the respondents were interviewed via landlines and 34 percent via cell numbers. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.5%, with a 95% confidence level. This poll was conducted by Florida Chamber Political Institute.

 

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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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Florida Chamber President Encourages Smart and Sustainable Water Solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

 

“Florida will need to produce 28 percent more water by 2030,” says Mark Wilson

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (November 21, 2014) – Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson today encouraged Central Florida leaders to help secure Florida’s future by identifying smart and sustainable solutions to meet Florida’s long-term water needs. Wilson, speaking at the Central Florida Partnership’s Regional Leadership Forum – Working Together to Advance a Regional Water Strategy – said Florida will need to produce 28 percent more water by 2030 to serve our state’s growing population.

“Water is Florida’s most precious resource,” said Wilson. “As Florida becomes the third most populous state in the nation, investing in Florida’s water infrastructure needs is necessary to keep pace with our growth and maintain our world-class environmental assets.”

The Florida Chamber, along with partners like the Central Florida Partnership, is helping lead a conversation both in Tallahassee and throughout the state to help identify smart solutions to address long-term water needs.

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation:

  • Florida currently uses 7 billion gallons of water each day.
    By 2030, Florida’s population will grow by an additional 5 million people.
    Florida’s growing population will likely require 9 billion gallons of water every day by 2030.

“Smart and sustainable solutions will help answer questions like where extra water will come from, how water rates will be affected and how we will minimize any negative impacts to our environment,” Wilson explained. “These are the questions we must answer in order to secure Florida’s future.”

Florida’s long-term water needs are a top priority for the Florida Chamber. To secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber continues to work with Governor Rick Scott, the Cabinet and members of the Florida Legislature to identify sustainable, high-quality, affordable sources of water to support environmental and economic development initiatives. Florida’s water future is among the Florida Chamber’s advocacy initiatives outlined in the 2015 Florida Business Agenda.

 

 

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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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.