Florida Chamber releases legislative scorecard, pivots toward election season

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida’s voice of business, has tabulated nearly 7,000 votes cast by lawmakers during the 2012 regular legislative session on our priority issues and today is releasing grades earned by all 160 legislators on the Florida Chamber’s 2012 Legislative Report Card. 

The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to honor and recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed private-sector job creation and the fight for free enterprise above special interests protecting the status quo. The Florida Chamber’s 2012 Legislative Report Card is an online tool that highlights grades legislators earned based on their support of pro-jobs, pro-business issues during the annual legislative session.

“The Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card is an important resource that allows voters and the business community to easily identify lawmakers who support Florida’s job creators,” said Anthony Connelly, Florida Chamber Board of Directors Chair and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S.

Overall, 60 percent of the entire Florida Legislature earned an “A” (score of 90-100) on the Legislative Report Card – unchanged from 2011. This year, 17 members of the Florida Senate earned an “A” – up from 15 in 2011, and 79 Florida House of Representatives members earned an “A” – down from 80 last year. While the average pro-business grade of the entire legislature was a “B,” the Grade Point Average was 83 percent in the Senate and 84 percent in the House. Individual lawmaker grades are available at the Florida Chamber’s 2012 Legislative Report Card.

“Florida voters and business leaders deserve to know whose side their legislators vote with – the status quo or job creators,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “As we work to secure Florida’s future, the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card will provide voters and employers the information they need when making decisions on who they will support in the future.”

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 will use in the election endorsement process.

Lawmakers were 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 there were 2,052 bills filed and 292 bills passed by the entire legislature, 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 published agenda for jobs.  Additional information on individual votes will be available in the coming weeks.

During the recently completed legislative session, lawmakers supported all three of Governor Scott’s priorities, lowered the cost of doing business in Florida and supported 25 Florida Chamber-backed issues.  Last year, Governor Scott signed all 31 Florida Chamber-backed bills and we are hopeful he will maintain his perfect batting average on our 2012 priorities.

“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,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber. “Marian Johnson and I are excited to now be entering election season.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.