Tallahassee, Fla. – Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released its 2018 Voting Records report and announced its 2018 Champions for Business award recipients.
This year marks 43 years AIF has published its Voting Records. AIF’s Voting Records report is a tabulation of the voting conduct of each member of the Florida Legislature during the 2018 Legislative Session. The report highlights the votes made by every legislator on bills advocated, promoted or opposed by AIF.
Included in this year’s edition of the Voting Records is AIF’s Champions for Business award recipients. Each year, AIF presents “non-voting” awards to recognize elected officials whose extraordinary efforts provide model leadership on key legislation for the success of Florida’s business community.
“Our team goes to great lengths to ensure legislators are aware of AIF’s positions on issues of great importance to Florida’s business community,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF. “And, after every session, AIF compiles a record of success with our Voting Records. We are proud to honor elected officials as Champions for Business – those lawmakers who take risks for his or her beliefs in the free-enterprise system, who defy the status quo when it’s harmful to our state’s competitive climate and who face down opponents to grow prosperity for Floridians.”
For the 2018 Legislative Session, AIF’s Voting Records indicate a slight uptick in the Florida Senate, with 78 percent of the Senate voting in favor of the business community, and a large gain in the Florida House, with the House voting favorably 91 percent of the time.
“This session was an anomaly with the focus at the halfway point shifting to the devastating school shooting and the most robust debate in our state’s history on school safety, mental illness and gun control,” said Brewster Bevis, senior vice president of state and federal affairs for AIF. “This shift, coupled with the sheer number of sitting elected officials who were running for higher office, resulted in a slowed legislative process and fewer bills making it through to the end – the lowest number of bills passed since 2001. So while AIF’s Voting Records show more favorable outcomes for the business community compared to last year, it is important to note the political environment and the impact it had on the legislative process this year.”
AIF compiles its Voting Records based on committee, amendment and floor votes cast. “Votes provide tangible evidence of whether a legislator supports the ability of Florida companies to prosper and operate free of overly burdensome state regulation and taxation,” continued Feeney. “But votes are only part of the equation. At AIF we also like to recognize legislators who make a difference for the business community. This year we are proud to announce our five Champions for Business and honor them for their extraordinary efforts – Senators Rob Bradley, Kathleen Passidomo and Dana Young, and Representatives Joe Gruters and Mike Miller.”
AIF recognizes the following five lawmakers for leading the way for Florida’s business community during the 2018 Legislative Session.
- Senator Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business award. AIF applauds Senator Bradley for his diligent work to pass glassware legislation during the 2018 Session. Allowing Florida businesses to accept beer branded glassware from a wholesaler at no cost will reduce the operating costs for businesses within our state.
- Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) is receiving her first AIF Champion for Business award. AIF applauds Senator Passidomo for her steadfast effort to introduce bad faith reform language to every iteration of automobile liability legislation during the 2018 Session. Senator Passidomo proved to be a fierce advocate for common sense in our tort system.
- Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) is receiving her second AIF Champion for Business award.AIF applauds Senator Young for her committed work in advocating for sector plan language during the 2018 Session. Her unwavering pursuit to ensure the rights of Florida landowners was exemplary.
- Representative Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business award.AIF applauds Representative Gruters for his achievement in passing glassware legislation during the 2018 Session. Allowing Florida businesses to accept beer branded glassware from a wholesaler at no cost will reduce the operating costs for businesses within our state.
- Representative Mike Miller (R-Orlando) is receiving his first AIF Champion for Business award.AIF applauds Representative Miller for his committed work in advocating for sector plan language during the 2018 Session. His dedication to ensure the rights of Florida landowners was exemplary.
“Whether they proposed an important bill, authored a key amendment or toiled behind the scenes, these legislators are the ones who made a difference during the 2018 Legislative Session,” continued Feeney.
AIF also recognizes the following 33 members of the Florida Legislature who have achieved a 100 percent voting record for the 2018 Legislative Session.Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Lutz) Representative Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah) Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) Representative Bob Cortes (R-Altamonte Springs) Representative Bryon Donalds (R-Naples) Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) Representative Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice) Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) Representative Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) Representative Tom Leek (R-Daytona Beach) Representative Ralph Massullo (R-Beverly Hills) Representative Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg) Representative Mel Ponder (R-Ft. Walton Beach) Representative Jake Raburn (R-Valrico) Representative Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Gardens) Representative Charlie Stone (R-Ocala) Representative Jay Williamson (R-Pace) Representative Thad Altman (R-Indialantic) Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) Representative Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park) Representative Brad Drake (DeFuniak Springs) Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) Representative Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) Representative Lawrence McClure (R-Plant City) Representative Cary Pigman (R-Sebring) Representative Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City) Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) Representative Ross Spano (R-Riverview) Representative Matt Willhite (D-Royal Palm Beach)
“These lawmakers showed a commitment to sound policy that supports Florida’s employers and job creators. Not only does this score encompass votes to pass legislation beneficial to businesses, it includes votes to defeat policies that would have a detrimental impact on businesses and their employees. We applaud all 38 lawmakers highlighted in our Voting Records for helping make Florida the best place to do business,” concluded Feeney.
AIF will present the Champions for Business awards to the recipients at its annual conference, which will be held September 12-14, 2018, in Orlando, Fla.
Known as “The Voice of Florida Business” in the Sunshine State, AIF has represented the principles of prosperity and free enterprise before the three branches of state government since 1920. A voluntary association of diversified businesses, AIF was created to foster an economic climate in Florida conducive to the growth, development, and welfare of industry and business and the people of the state.here.