Senator Jeff Brandes Calls for Narrowing the Use of Contingency Fee Multipliers – the “Slot Machine” for the Legal Profession – on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 21, 2020) – As the Florida Legislature tackles narrowing the use of contingency fee multipliers, Senator Jeff Brandes tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that these fee escalators were never designed to be “the slot machines for the legal profession.”

In fact, contingency fee multipliers, which are used by trial lawyers to get legal fees two or three times higher than their normal, hourly rate, are only granted in “rare and exceptional” circumstances everywhere but Florida.

“We’re trying to level the playing field and set the standards as where it is in the rest of the 49 states and the federal standard,” Brandes explains.

Florida’s bottom five legal climate is costing the average family $4,442 each year in lawsuit abuse ‘taxes.’ Lawsuit abuse reform is a top legislative priority for the Florida Chamber.

Senator Brandes also discusses criminal justice reform as well as the future of innovation and disruptive technologies.

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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 for more information.

House Takes Important Step on Transportation Bill


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On March 28, a Florida Chamber-backed infrastructure and growth bill that mirrors recommendations from the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition Report, passed the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

PCB TTA 19-02 is the House companion bill to SB 7068, a top priority bill for Senate President Bill Galvano. The bill would create new transportation corridors, connect Florida’s rural communities to the metro areas, and plan for new transportation technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

Budget allocations have also been released by the Florida House and Senate, and both chambers have recommended over $10.7 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Both allocations are within the Department of Transportation budget recommendations and would include Hurricane Michael relief to Northwest Florida and common road repairs. This marks another year of over $10 billion allocated to the FDOT.

The Florida Chamber thanks the House and the Senate for prioritizing infrastructure investments to help ensure Florida is prepared for 26 million residents by 2030.

Join the Infrastructure Coalition

The Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition is dedicated to creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and rural infrastructure. Click here to join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition and learn how we are doubling down on efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities through infrastructure investments.

Moving Florida Forward


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Why It Matters to Florida

The Florida Chamber Foundation estimates more than 26 million residents are expected to call Florida home by 2030. In fact, Florida is the third most populous state in the nation. That means there will be approximately three million new Florida drivers commuting on our roads. Along with the more than 126 million visitors that came to Florida last year, it’s estimated that there will be more than three million daily vehicle miles added to Florida roads by 2030.

In addition to highways, Florida also moves people and goods along a complex system of railways, seaports, airports and space ports, all interconnected to provide services and goods that grow our economy. Whether it’s the more than 1,000 miles of coastlines and more than 3,000 miles of highways, Florida’s transportation infrastructure relies on capable investments in order to keep our economy flowing and keep Floridians safe.

State and private-sector investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure are vital for future economic growth in the global trade sector. Transportation and infrastructure needs also require special training for intermodal transportation and logistics jobs so Florida’s workforce is prepared to accommodate Florida’s growing population.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

Public-private partnerships ensure our state can invest in addressing the infrastructure needs key to meeting the demands of a growing population.

The Florida Chamber will keep fighting to prevent attempting raids to the State Transportation Trust Fund for non-transportation purposes. The future health and prosperity of all Floridians is advanced with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.

We also believe that supporting innovative business sectors like ridesharing and autonomous vehicles with consistent regulatory frameworks will help to diversity Florida’s economy and help our state’s growing transportation needs while also ensuring public safety.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

While several updates to Florida’s transportation system are currently underway in Florida’s major cities, we must continue to stay focused on creating transportation systems and infrastructure that safely transport valuable cargo, from our Florida grown crops to our children and families.

Act Now

Join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition‘s efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities and double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.

Florida Is Embracing the Future of Autonomy

With our strong growth and attractive business climate, Florida needs to plan for tomorrow’s future today. By 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation estimates that Florida will have another five million new people that call our state home, three million new drivers on our roadways, and tens of millions of new devices that will plug into our data network. As these technologies grow in number and complexity, the amount of data each individual uses will also increase dramatically.

In addition to the forces that we are familiar with, Florida is leading the charge on the adoption of autonomous vehicles. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has boldly declared their intent to make Florida the autonomous capital of the world. With our good laws on the books and openness to innovation, Florida has already welcomed six self-driving vehicle deployments across the state in places like Miami, Gainesville, Babcock Ranch, and the Villages. These new and transformational technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives and safely transport millions of goods and services, while unlocking incredible job opportunities for Floridians. But each of these vehicles will also create and use a tremendous amount of data.

Fortunately, private-sector businesses have created a solution: compact devices with incredible data capacity over a smaller range called “small cells.” These devices, working as a system, are the next generation of communications infrastructure. Companies in Florida are already installing small cells, but this 5G deployment is not happening fast enough to ensure Florida is able to cement its position as a global leader.

Simply put, in order for Florida to remain a leader in autonomous vehicles, smart devices, and the next generation of jobs, we must continue to push for the deployment of 5G across Florida. To make that happen, network carriers, infrastructure builders and local leaders must partner together to bring 5G to Florida.

Earlier this month, business leaders, industry experts and elected officials gathered for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Florida Growth & Infrastructure Summit, where Florida’s future infrastructure needs and solutions were discussed. Leaders took a deep dive into the role innovation plays in Florida’s future. In partnership with the Society of Automotive Engineers, the summit also offered experiences to the public to take a drive in an autonomous vehicle and interact with the next generation of virtual reality.

In order for Florida to embrace these new technologies and future growth, we must build the digital highways of the future. That starts with more small cells.


Chris Emmanuel, Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Malcolm Eve is Crown Castle’s Public Affairs Manager for the South Area and serves on the Florida Chamber of Commerce (Infrastructure Coalition-Chair of the Economic Prosperity Work Group).  Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 65,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major US market. This nationwide portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service – bringing information, ideas and innovations to the people and businesses that need them.


Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development

Think about it. Florida is already the third largest state in America and we’re growing by over 1,000 new residents every day. We have 21 million residents and we’ll grow by five million more by 2030. By then, we’ll have three million more drivers on our roads, 50 million more visitors and we’ll need 20 percent more water. The good news is that Florida’s business leaders have a plan and it’s getting traction. This is good for Florida, good for job creation and it’s a great way to Secure Florida’s Future.

While we’re growing, Florida is also becoming more diverse. Aging Baby Boomers will continue to swell Florida’s elder population and at the same time, the Millennial and GenX generations are growing as a share of Florida’s total population. As Florida’s population changes, it is important that our infrastructure systems respond to their changing needs. Creating long-term investments in Florida’s transportation, energy, water, telecommunications and agriculture infrastructure is essential. Our infrastructure needs to support growing demand as well as a wide range of options – from sustainable water solutions to autonomous transportation systems.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research outlines where Florida needs to be by 2030 to remain globally competitive. To secure Florida’s future, we must consider the water and energy needs for nearly five million more residents, be ready for the hard and soft infrastructure needs like broader telecommunications, improved roadways and railways, air, space and sea ports, ensure Floridians can connect to job opportunities, education, healthcare options, each other and the world, as well as support continued economic growth while preserving Florida’s essential environment and community assets.


How Do We Make Sure Florida Is Prepared for Smarter Growth?

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, chaired by former Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s likely focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And, here at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments. As part of the Florida Chamber’s continuing efforts, we are working closely with state leaders like Senate President Bill Galvano to enact smarter growth policies that meet Florida’s long-term needs and will, this week, present recommendations the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition has prepared for Florida’s elected officials to consider.

The Florida Chamber understands the importance innovation and technology play in Florida’s future- specifically as they relate to Florida’s infrastructure future. Florida 2030 research estimates that by 2030, more than 25 percent of all miles driven (including freight) could be by autonomous vehicles. With guidance and leadership from state leaders like Senator Jeff Brandes, Syd Kitson of Babcock Ranch and Grayson Brulte of Brulte & Company, the Florida Chamber created Autonomous Florida, a statewide initiative that works to ensure Florida continues leading the way in autonomous transportation. Our vision? To make Florida the autonomous capital of “all things autonomous” in North America.

I believe Florida will continue to grow and we can remain competitive if we plan better for the next five million residents than we did for the last five million.


This week, leaders from around Florida and the nation will gather at American’s first solar powered town, Babcock Ranch for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit, to discuss the future of Florida’s transportation and infrastructure systems, as well as outline the strategies needed to grow smarter. Governor-elect DeSantis, Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva have all signaled an interest in keeping innovation and infrastructure at the core of Florida’s economic development future. This is great news as we fight to Secure Florida’s Future.

December 10, 2018

Transportation Infrastructure Is a Business Priority


Growth & Infrastructure Summit


“Transportation infrastructure is a necessary part of virtually every business.”
Sally Patrenos, President & CEO, Floridians for Better Transportation

Earlier this week, we caught up with Sally Patrenos, President and CEO of Floridians for Better Transportation, to talk about the 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit and how businesses can play a leading role in securing our state’s future. Click the video below to learn more and be sure to register for the 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit on December 11 at Babcock Ranch!


Florida Chamber of Commerce Doubles Down On Infrastructure and Growth Leadership Efforts

Infrastructure Coalition to Serve as Unified Voice of Business Preparing for Florida’s Future Growth


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 4, 2018) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced a reinforced undertaking of its long and steady infrastructure and growth leadership efforts. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition will serve as the unified voice of business preparing for Florida’s future growth.


“With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, a growing Florida means a growing need for infrastructure to support our increasing population and increasing visitors,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.


The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s renewed focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.


“Florida’s economy will reach $1 trillion by the end of 2018, and it’s important that we continue to focus on strategic, innovative and transformative infrastructure investments that will allow Florida to continue to compete and succeed on a global scale,” said SENATE PRESIDENT DESIGNATE BILL GALVANO, who has placed infrastructure among his top legislative priorities. “By working together with the business community and the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, we can ensure a prosperous future for Florida.”


Ananth Prasad, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, and former Department of Transportation Secretary will spearhead the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition. During Prasad’s time as Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, he continued to protect Florida’s Transportation Trust Fund, allowing fundamental infrastructure projects to flourish. He is also credited with creating historic investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure.


“As we look toward the future of infrastructure in Florida, we must dream big,” said ANANTH PRASAD, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association. “Tourism is up, Florida’s population continues to grow, and now, we must match it with innovations in every mode of infrastructure to move people and goods more efficiently.”


The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition will soon travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation during National Infrastructure Week. The Infrastructure Coalition will provide its list of recommended infrastructure investments to state and federal leaders.


Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition by visiting


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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 for more information.

Let’s Invest in U.S. Future — Transportation Secretary Chao


Take Our Survey   Federal Issues   Transportation Investments


By Elaine L. Chao, Guest Columnist, Orlando Sentinel


President Donald Trump has announced a bold, innovative plan for improving and investing in America’s infrastructure. The proposal is the culmination of a year-long effort between Cabinet agencies, including the Department of Transportation, with significant input from state, local, and private sector leaders. It is designed to change how infrastructure is built, financed and maintained in communities across the country.

A national discussion on how we build and fund our roads, bridges, tunnels, seaports, airports, rural infrastructure and transit systems is long overdue. As U.S. Secretary of Transportation, I’ve had countless conversations with governors and local officials across the country — including Florida Gov. Rick Scott — about strengthening America’s critical infrastructure. Florida is doing it the right way.

One project in particular is the I-4 Ultimate Project. I-4 Ultimate will help transform Central Florida by rebuilding 21 miles of interstate. From its inception in 1965, I-4 has been a vital east-west connector that cuts through Central Florida, serving as the main transportation corridor from Daytona Beach to Tampa.

I-4 Ultimate includes the addition of two new dynamic tolled Express Lanes in each direction, replacing more than 140 bridges, reconfiguring 15 major interchanges, and reconstructing the entire existing roadway. By utilizing a public-private partnership procurement method, the Florida Department of Transportation will deliver the project in seven years where standard funding options projected it would take 27 years to complete. When finished, the project is expected to decrease travel times by increasing options for commuters and visitors in central Florida.

The $2.3 billion construction project is benefiting from more than $1 billion in private financing from the concessionaire, I-4 Mobility Partners, including private bank loans, Federal TIFIA loans, and private investment. As such, the project also needs a workforce, including engineers, designers, skilled workers, as well as all that goes into supplying product and equipment along the way. This means jobs for Central Florida.

Unfortunately, Florida is the exception, not the norm. One out of every five miles of U.S. highway pavement is in poor condition. Americans spent an estimated 6.9 billion hours delayed in traffic in 2014, or 42 hours per driver. Almost 40 percent of America’s bridges are more than 50 years old.

Click here to read the complete article in the Orlando Sentinel

Global Florida Webinar: Economic Development and Supply Chain Innovation


Register   Trade & Logistics Study   International Program


Florida Chamber Global Florida Webinar
Economic Development and Supply Chain Innovation
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.


Trade, Transportation, Logistics and Distribution are big businesses in Florida. Since 2010, the state has made strategic and transformative investments in our logistics and transportation infrastructure – a key recommendation of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics Study 1.0.

These investments have positioned Florida as a global hub for trade and investment. But we face competition and the industry is changing.

New technologies are presenting promising opportunities that could transform the industry. Technologies like blockchain allow for more transparency, security and efficiency across the entire supply chain, and deliver a higher value to consumers. With significant players beginning to implement blockchain technologies, how can Florida continue to leverage its infrastructure assets and adapt to continue attracting investment as well as grow international trade?

Join the Florida Chamber of Commerce for our next Global Florida webinar on Tuesday, March 6 at 3:00 p.m. The discussion will focus on Florida’s economic development story. We will hear from Michael G. Morgan, Partner at McDermott Will & Emery, who will discuss blockchain technology and the future of logistics and supply chain.


Drive the Discussion

Do you have specific information you would like covered during this webinar? Send your suggestions to Dan Tapia at


Get Involved

Get connected to global opportunities by becoming a member of the Florida Chamber’s International Program. Contact me at or (850) 521-1206.


Special Thanks to Our Partners

Ken Armstrong, Florida Trucking: “We are in the middle of huge time of change”

“We are in the middle of a huge time of change, in transportation in general, and trucking specifically.”

We caught up with Ken Armstrong, President  & CEO of the Florida Trucking Association, at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Transportation Summit, where he shared his thoughts on the future of transportation in Florida- and how moving both freight and people is key to securing our state’s future.

Click the below video to hear more.



Get Involved:

Be part of the transportation conversation. Click here to be the first to know when registration opens for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Transportation Summit.

More Regulations Bad for Rail Industry


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Florida Should Welcome All Modes of Transportation

In testimony before the Florida Senate Transportation Committee, the Florida Chamber of Commerce expressed its opposition to SB 572, which would add unneeded state regulations to the already heavily federally regulated rail industry.

The Florida Chamber believes this bill will disturb existing agreements between local governments and private companies, and discourage private investment that seeks to solve public transportation issues.

During testimony to the committee, which is chaired by Senator George B. Gainer (R-Panama City), we shared that Florida will see an additional 5.4 million residents and 117 million annual visitors by 2030. Florida should welcome all modes of transportation, especially those the private sector is willing to invest in.

Click here to see Chris Emmanuel’s testimony in front of the Florida Senate Transportation Committee.


Share Your Feedback

We welcome your feedback on this issue. Join the discussion at the 2017 Florida Chamber Foundation Transportation Solutions Summit on December 12. For additional information, email Chris Emmanuel at or call at (850) 521-1242.

Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise: Luc Castera


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Did you know, Florida currently ranks 7th in the US for origin exports and 6th in foreign direct investment? We interviewed Luc Castera, founder of Octopi – a Miami-based software company that allows cargo terminals to help them digitize operations and prepare for the future of shipping, port communications and more – to give us his insight on how Florida can position itself as an international hub.

“The international hubs of the future will be the places with a strong technology focus. The real question we need to ask ourselves is what should Florida do to position itself for success as a tech hub?

The first thing we need to do is see where we are now and where we stand today… the second one is that in order to be a tech hub we not only need to grow our own tech companies but we also need to attract existing companies to move to Florida. Florida has a great port network…and we need to keep investing in these sea ports and airports because that’s going to help us attract these companies.”

As far as disruptions on the horizon, Castera also provided the results of Octopi’s recent thought experiment, The End of Container Shipping, which shows how the transportation industry may be disrupted in the future.

“We came up with six technologies that can still cause massive disruption: drones, 3D printing, rockets, virtual reality, the hyper loop and teleportation.”

Click the audio file below to hear Luc discuss the future of Florida’s transportation systems, ports and more.

For more information on the future of Florida’s transportation systems or to hear Luc take a deeper dive into disruptions live, register for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Transportation Summit.

FDOT Secretary Mike Dew on Florida’s Transportation Future


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Florida Secretary of Transportation: “Your Voices Are Strong.”


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Yesterday, Mike Dew, Florida Secretary of Transportation and key note speaker at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Transportation Summit, spoke to Florida’s leading business and industry experts on the future of Florida’s transportation. As we plan for a future with 26 million Floridians and 4-5 million new drivers, Sec. Dew shared his thoughts on how Florida can continue to succeed:

“Making sure that we are doing everything we can to keep up with the current growth and anticipate future need is of critical importance…Across the board there is a recognition in the importance of investment in transportation  infrastructure.”


-Mike Dew, Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation


Join The Conversation

Register today to hear from Sec. Mike Dew live on December 12 in Port Canaveral as we continue these conversations and take an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities facing Florida’s transportation systems today and throughout the next 20 years. Topics will include connectivity, innovations and technology, how Florida can leverage its infrastructure, how Florida can move and make more product to help multiply economic impact to our state, and more.

Gov. Scott Kicks Off Largest Transportation Infrastructure Project in Northwest Florida History


On June 26, Governor Rick Scott celebrated the kick off of construction for the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, the largest transportation infrastructure project in Northwest Florida history. The State of Florida is investing $398.5 million in the new bridge. The new bridge is expected to be completed in 2019 and will temporarily transition four lanes of traffic onto the structure. This will allow for demolition of the existing bridge and completion of the second and final bridge in 2020.


GOVERNOR SCOTT said, “I was proud to join Northwest Florida leaders and community members to celebrate the kick off of the new Pensacola Bay Bridge project today. This investment will help increase safety and efficiency for the many families and visitors that travel through this beautiful community each day and will also help support the creation of thousands of jobs. Thanks to our commitment to making record transportation investments, critical projects like the Pensacola Bay Bridge replacement will help ensure Florida’s transportation infrastructure remains a national leader for generations to come.”


The new bridge will consist of two parallel structures, each with three 12-foot travel lanes, two 10-foot shoulders, and a 10-foot multi-use path for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists.

The project’s design-build contractor, Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Inc., estimates they will directly employ more than 500 workers to construct the new bridge. Additionally, estimates from the University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development indicate the project will help create and sustain approximately 4,200 jobs in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, along with an additional 600 jobs throughout Florida.

MIKE DEW, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, said, “I thank Governor Scott, the Florida Legislature and local officials for making this vital investment for Northwest Florida families and businesses. Governor Scott’s policies have led an economic revival across the state. We are at a nearly 10-year-low in unemployment and we are seeing 1,000 people move to the state each day. That’s why our transportation improvements, like the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, are critical to meeting the challenges of growth.”