The Florida Chamber of Commerce, one of Florida’s largest trade associations, released its annual Legislative Report Card and also announced its distinguished advocates for the 2022 Legislative Session. The chamber describes itself as an organization that supports free-enterprise policies and has historically backed Republicans over Democrats.
The chamber said that its calculated average grade for all of Florida’s lawmakers was a 68 percent, equating to a “D.”
Despite the “D” rating, Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson was optimistic after the legislative session.
“Working together as a unified business community is how we will keep Florida’s economy growing and competitive,” Wilson said. “As Florida continues to pace the nation’s economic recovery out of the pandemic, Florida’s business climate must remain a priority if we are going to continue on the path to grow private sector jobs, diversify our economy, and create additional economic opportunities for all Floridians.”
According to the chamber’s tabulations, they gave 32 lawmakers a grade of “A” and 50 a grade of “F.”
The qualifications for earning an “A” meant supporting: healthcare COVID-19 liability protections, significant long-term infrastructure funding, improving education outcomes via a student-assessments overhaul, a local business protection act, property insurance reform, and Florida tourism marketing.
A total of 20 Florida lawmakers, all Republicans, earned a perfect Florida Chamber score of 100 percent. Conversely, only one lawmaker received zero percent: State Senator Rosalind Osgood (D-Tamarac). State Representative Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) was the lawmaker with the next-lowest rating of four percent.
On Twitter, Eskamani laughed off her low rating.
“Florida Chamber gave me a 4%,” Eskamani said, followed by a laughing emoji.
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) June 10, 2022
The chamber saw a number of its priorities become legislation and signed with the help of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, including COVID liability projections and the extension for VISIT FLORIDA. Back in February, DeSantis signed a bill extending the COVID liability projections to healthcare providers and VISIT FLORIDA was extended to 2028.
Like many trade associations, the chamber attempted to keep a good relationship with DeSantis but the Florida Chamber was notably out of the limelight when DeSantis and one of the chamber’s biggest members, Disney, went toe-to-toe over the Parental Rights in Education Bill earlier in the spring. DeSantis eventually signed legislation revoking Disney’s special governance status.
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