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Report Card Honors Lawmakers for Voting to Make Florida More Competitive
TALLAHASSEE, FL (May 22, 2014) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today is releasing actual grades earned by all members of the House and Senate on the Florida Chamber’s 2014 Legislative Report Card.
After tabulating more than 6,000 votes cast during the 2014 Legislative Session, nearly 56 percent of state lawmakers earned an “A” (90-100) for voting to make Florida more competitive and in support of the priority jobs issues outlined in the Florida Chamber’s 2014 Business Agenda.
The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to honor and recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation above special interests attempts to protect the status quo.
“When the Florida Chamber speaks, legislators want to know their opinion because they know what it takes to help Florida succeed. Job creators pay close attention because it takes a strong chamber and a strong legislature to pass bold initiatives,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford.
The Florida Chamber’s 2014 Legislative Report Card is an online tool that illuminates grades legislators earned based on their support of pro-jobs, pro-business issues during the annual legislative session.
“Poll after poll shows that most Floridians are concerned about the economy. 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 and voting direction in advance of the November election,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber.
Building on the Florida Chamber’s multi-year competitiveness agenda, this year the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott provided $500 million in tax relief, and lawmakers took additional strides toward improving education and further preparing Florida’s future workforce for jobs of the future.
According to the Florida Chamber’s 2014 Legislative Report Card:
20 Senators earned an “A” – remaining steady from 2013,
71 Representatives earned an “A” – down from 73 last year, and
Grade Point Average for Representatives was 87 percent and 88.7 percent for Senators.
The Florida Chamber entered the 2014 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.
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 1,811 bills were filed, and 264 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 three years, Governor Scott has had a perfect batting average in signing all 82 Florida Chamber-backed bills into law and we are hopeful he will do so again this year with the remaining Florida Chamber bills on his desk.
“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.
In addition to candidate interviews, prior voting records and input from members, the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is one tool the Florida Chamber’s Political Operations team uses in the election endorsement process.
Moving forward, the Florida Chamber’s Political Operations team, under the direction of Senior Vice President of Political Operations Marian Johnson and Senior Director of Political Affairs Mike Grissom, are interviewing nearly every legislative candidate running in the 2014 election cycle. Johnson, Grissom and the political operations team are evaluating each legislator’s report card grade, interviewing candidates for House and Senate and fundraising to elect pro-business candidates.
The Florida Chamber will soon release How They Voted 2014, a detailed publication summarizing the priorities of the recent legislative session and incorporating the 2014 Legislative Report Card.
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 Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.