Rick Scott Archives - Page 6 of 232 - Florida Politics

Report: Rick Scott committee releases robocall targeting Republicans who support killing Enterprise Florida

Voters across the state will be getting robo-calls blasting their representative for voting for a bill to kill Enterprise Florida.

POLITICO Florida reported that Let’s Get to Work, the political committee backing Gov. Rick Scott, has funded another round of robocalls hitting Republicans who voted for a bill (HB 7005) that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and a slew of other economic incentive programs.

“Unfortunately, your state representative … is playing politics with Florida’s jobs,” the ad says, according to POLITICO Florida. “He voted to decimate Florida’s tourism and jobs programs. And that will destroy our economy and lead to higher taxes.”

The ad, according to the report, is targeting Reps. Larry Ahern, Ben Albritton, Michael Bileca, Jason Brodeur, Travis Cumings, Jose Diaz, Manny Diaz, Blaise Ingoglia, Clay Ingram, Larry, Metz, George Moraitis, Jeanette Nunez, Jose Oliva, Elizabeth Porter, Ray Rodrigues, Chris Sprowls, and Carlos Trujillo.


Second poll pitting Bill Nelson and Rick Scott head-to-head gives Democrat the advantage, again

Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t announced he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2018, but a new survey shows he’s already trailing in the polls.

A poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research shows Sen. Bill Nelson holds a five-point lead over Scott, who is widely believed to be mulling a 2018 U.S. Senate bid. Statewide, the Orlando Democrat leads Scott 46 to 41 percent, with 13 percent of respondents saying they were undecided.

The poll was first reported by POLITICO Florida.

The poll found Nelson has a big lead in Southeast Florida, where 60 percent of voters said they backed Nelson, compared to 24 percent who picked Scott. He also leads in the Tampa Bay region, 47 to 40 percent.

Scott is favored in North Florida, 56 percent to Nelson’s 34 percent. And the Naples Republican has a big lead Southwest Florida, his home turf, where 52 percent of voters backed Scott, compared to 37 percent who picked Nelson.

The poll of 625 registered Florida voters was conducted from Feb. 24 through Feb. 28. It has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Pollsters noted the outcome of the race would “likely be shaped by the political fortunes of President Donald Trump.” While Republican carried the state by one percentage point, his “personal popularity has slipped into slightly negative territory.”

“He was elected on a change message and swing voters, who have shown they are less interested in the circus, bought into his agenda. How they still feel about that agenda and his success or failure implementing it is going to be a very important factor in 2018,” according to the polling memo. “Given the narrow margin that he carried the state by, he doesn’t have much room for error in Florida.”


Bill Galvano tells Seminole Tribe his gambling bill “will move forward”

Bill Galvano, the Florida Senate’s point man on gambling, has told the Seminole Tribe of Florida “inaction … is not an option” this year.

Galvano, the Bradenton Republican in line to be Senate President in 2018-20, responded this week to a letter sent by Tribal Chairman Marcellus Osceola to legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Scott.

Both chambers have gambling legislation filed this year with competing priorities, but both contemplate a new agreement, or “compact,” with the Tribe offering exclusive rights to keep offering blackjack in return for $3 billion in revenue share over seven years.

“Approval of a new, revised compact must occur concurrently with, and is interdependent upon, resolution of a number of gaming issues, including matters relating to and affecting Florida’s pari-mutuel industry, cardrooms, designated player games, blackjack, and operation of slot machine facilities in the referendum counties,” Galvano wrote.

“Without a doubt, resolving these matters will require patient and thoughtful, good-faith negotiations between and among all the affected parties,” he added. “I am prepared, on behalf of the Senate, to do just that.”

At the same time, he said the Senate’s gambling bill (SB 8) “will continue to move … forward.”

But Osceola had objected to the Senate bill, saying it “would require higher payments … (and) would add numerous additional exceptions to the Tribe’s exclusivity while broadly expanding gaming in Florida.”

He also included a copy of an advisory letter from the federal government’s top Indian gambling regulator, who said the feds would be “hard-pressed” to approve the proposed new blackjack agreement as is.

The Seminoles offer blackjack at five of their casinos, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa.

Galvano closed his own letter by asking for a meeting with members of the Tribe “to discuss this matter in detail.”

Meantime, an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling allowing the Tribe to keep offering blackjack, compact or no compact, has been scheduled for an April 11 mediation, court dockets show.

Capitol Reax: Opening Day of the 2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 Legislative Session kicked off Tuesday with Gov. Rick Scott’s penultimate “State of the State” address, and speeches from Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

“This session represents Florida’s best chance yet for solving an ongoing environmental catastrophe that affects millions of Floridians.

For nearly 20 years, scientists have agreed that a southern reservoir will reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee to our coastal waterways, rehydrate America’s Everglades and Florida Bay, and help meet the growing water needs of 8 million Floridians in the years ahead.

Senate President Joe Negron, Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Thad Altman are to be congratulated for their leadership. We look forward to working with them, along with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Governor Rick Scott. We are hopeful that this critical water infrastructure project becomes a reality.” – Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg

 “AIF congratulates Governor Rick Scott on all of his accomplishments outlined in his State of the State address today, and supports his business-friendly agenda for the coming year.

Since the day the Governor took office, he has promised Floridians that he would grow our job base, cut our taxes and create an environment where new businesses want to locate, stay and contribute to our economy.  Our Governor has done just that for our Florida families.

This legislative session, AIF and our members stand with Governor Scott in ensuring Florida job creators are excelling and Florida families are benefitting from a pro-business environment in their home state.  AIF congratulates Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature on making Florida one of the best places to do business in the United States.” — AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney

“After 20 years of Republican state government control, it’s clearer now more than ever that the status quo is not working for the people of Florida. 44 percent of households across the state struggle to make ends meet; our infrastructure is ill-equipped to meet the demands of our ever-growing population; the income gap is among the widest in the country; and the state’s pre-K program is shamefully underfunded by $400 million.

And yet in the latest display of misplaced Tallahassee priorities, Gov. Scott heralds more corporate tax breaks as the path forward at the expense of small businesses and communities across the state. Lawmakers must stop rewarding their special interest campaign contributors and instead focus on the real issues that impact everyday Floridians’ lives.

When lawmakers fund public education, our children will be better prepared to join the workforce. When we put more money in Floridians’ pockets, they will spend it at small businesses in their communities, helping boost our economy. When we maintain safe highways and roads, Florida will be that much more productive and economically competitive.

These times require smarter and wiser use of taxpayer dollars as a means to create an environment for good-paying jobs in every corner of the Sunshine State. This is not about hard choices, but a matter of priorities.”  — FloridaStrong Executive Director Charly Norton.

“We appreciate Governor Scott’s passion for job creation, common sense regulatory reform and tax cuts. There is no question that Governor Scott and the Florida legislature have helped Florida endure the recent recession, and through their effective leadership the state of our state is strong. But make no mistake, the positive strides and gains we’ve made together are not because of top down big-government programs. Because Florida entrepreneurs are the best investors of their dollars, they are thriving in the low tax, low regulatory environment which are among the most critical reasons millions of Americans from across the country have migrated to the Sunshine State.”

Americans for Prosperity-Florida and the over 180,000 individuals that have taken action with us to hold their elected official accountable call on Governor Scott and the Florida legislature to continue focusing on the key steps that make our state the best place to live, raise a family, and start a business. We’ve laid out a series of priority bills that if enacted can assist in fast-tracking the opportunity of success for all Floridians, by focusing on free-market policies that level the playing field.”

We hope the legislature forgoes the call by Governor Scott to maintain a rigged system by keeping the quasi-state agency, Enterprise Florida in existence. Lawmakers have an opportunity to cut wasteful spending and end corporate welfare by passing HB 7005.”

The other critical needs of this state must be balanced and met. We call on the legislature to focus on common sense free-market health care reforms to expand access for patients to receive the best care available. We also hope this is the year that School Choice policies receive the most favorable advancements to empower our children and their families to receive the best education.” – AFP-FL State Director Chris Hudson

“The Florida League of Cities has profound concerns about Senate Bill 569. This legislation will strip away local authority in favor of private utility companies, giving Big Telecom a massive corporate handout by granting them virtually unlimited access to use resources within public rights of way.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Hutson and other interested parties to prevent the harm this bill would inflict on the ability of local communities to shape the character of their own hometown.”Florida League of Cities President and Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie

“It’s well established that the best decisions for the future of a community are made by leaders within that community. Senate Bill 596 disregards that proven fact, ignoring the views of local decision-makers and instead handing authority to giant telecommunications corporations.

“While Florida’s mayors embrace innovation and new technological advancements, this legislation threatens our ability to help shape the look and feel of our hometown communities and gives private corporations unfettered access to public rights of way. This would be a terrible mistake, and we strongly oppose Senate Bill 596.” — Palm Shores Mayor Carol McCormack, President of the Florida League of Mayor


Democratic gubernatorial maybes Philip Levine, Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum weigh in Rick Scott speech

Three current or potential Democratic candidates for governor criticized Gov. Rick Scott‘s State of the State speech Tuesday for what he did not talk about, with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine critical of low-wage jobs, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum of Scott’s reading of the Pulse nightclub massacre and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham his priorities.

Gillum, the first major Democrat to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race, blasted Scott’s speech Tuesday for not addressing two issues Democrats have tied to last year’s Pulse nightclub massacre: Gun law reform and support for the gay community.

“No mention of common sense gun law reforms, nor the continued discrimination against the LGBTQ community in @FLGovScott’s State of the State,” Gillum tweeted after the speech.

Graham also weighed in, criticizing Scott and other notable Republican leaders — led by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, though she did not mention names — for fighting with each other rather than working together for Florida.

Levine took Scott’s side in his battles with Corcoran over support for Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida, but said the governor is saying and doing little to attract good-paying jobs to Florida.

“Florida has clearly become a low-wage, high-cost state,” Levine said. “The governor didn’t offer any idea in how do we create good-paying jobs in our state. We get to tourism, and I’ll say it again. We love tourism. We love Disney World. But how can we make sure that all Floridians can visit Disney World, not just folks from outside the state?”

Before the speech, Gillum anticipated that with a prebuttal statement that said Floridians are looking for someone to champion “the issues and values that matter to us, and sadly Governor Scott will not and cannot rise to that level.”

Scott spent much of the opening minutes of his speech discussing the Pulse shooting, in which madman Omar Mateen, who declared he was inspired by ISIS and who avowed hatred of gays, killed 49 people and wounded 53 in Orlando’s popular gay nightclub last June 12. He spoke of meeting with families in the days that followed, and with police and other first responders, and praised Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

Yet Scott spoke, as many Republicans do, exclusively of Islamic terrorism behind the attack, not hatred of gays, which most Democrats refer to first.

Nor did the governor talk of any of the efforts by Orlando Democrats to call for restrictions on the rapid-fire assault rifle or the high-capacity ammunition magazines Mateen used, or address President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.

“We all join the governor in mourning the tragic mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub, but the governor continues to fail to put forward common-sense gun safety reforms we need to keep our communities safe,” Gillum stated in his prebuttal.

“Instead of standing up to President Trump on his unconstitutional Muslim ban or his immoral executive order on sanctuary cities, Governor Scott appears poised to be silent, even when our values are threatened.

“Times like these call for champions on the issues and values that matter to us, and sadly, Governor Scott will not and cannot rise to that level,” Gillum concluded.

“Rather than fighting for the people of Florida, Rick Scott and Republicans leaders are wasting time fighting each other,” Graham responded in a statement. “We need leaders who put the people of Florida before their own political self-interests.

“Through this session and every day at the state Capitol, the top priorities should be helping workers get ahead, protecting our environment and improving schools,” she added. “We need our leaders to fight for families, children and seniors — not fighting each other.”

Another announced candidate, Orlando businessman Chris King, has indicated he is declining public discussions until he formally launches his campaign April 1.

Orlando attorney John Morgan, who said he might run for governor but wouldn’t decide until late this year, said he did not hear Scott’s speech.

Advocates call on Legislature to focus on working Floridians during annual ‘Awake the State’ event

State lawmakers aren’t looking out for everyday Floridians, an advocate for one of the state’s largest labor unions said Tuesday.

“In 2010, Rick Scott said ‘let’s get to work.’ In 2014, he said ‘let’s keep working,’” said Rich Templin, the legislative and political director for the Florida AFL-CIO. “The problem is, Florida is not working for most of our families and nobody in the building is fighting for them.”

Templin was one of several advocates who spoke out during the “Awake the State” event at the Florida Capitol. The annual event generally serves as a response to the governor’s State of the State speech, and this year speakers touched on a variety of issues, including poverty, the environment and immigrant rights.

Citing the United Way of Florida’s 2017 ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, Templin said millions of Floridians are struggling.

“They’re doing everything they’re supposed to do, working a job, working two jobs, working three jobs, but they still have to make decisions between food and rent, medicine and child care, decisions no worker should have to make in this state,” he said. “Millions of Floridians are suffering, and the state is doing very little to support (them).”

Templin said the state is at the bottom when it comes to K-12 and higher education spending, and said schools have been “saddled with policies driven by ideology and a desire to privatize education, not by sound educational principles.”

Instead of focusing on programs like health care and education, Templin said state leaders have been focused on “slashing vital programs for big tax cuts for the wealthy and well connected in the process.”

“None of this is working for most Floridians,” said Templin.

Advocates called on Scott and lawmakers to invest in public education, increase access to health care coverage, protect the state’s natural resources, and upgrade infrastructure.

“This is Day 1. We have a lot of work to do,” said Francesca Menes, director of policy and advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “This is just the beginning.

Enterprise Florida names Mike Grissom interim CEO

Enterprise Florida’s Executive Committee named Mike Grissom interim CEO Tuesday, a day after the embattled agency’s CEO abruptly resigned.

Former CEO Chris Hart IV resigned after serving only three months on the job.

Stan Connally, vice chairman of the Enterprise board of directors, hastily called the meeting Tuesday and nominated Grissom, who served as interim CEO last year. Grissom is the current executive vice president of the economic development agency.

“Mike Grissom served in the previous interim CEO role,” said Connally. “He has familiarity with the issues and it makes good logical sense to put him in that role again.”

Grissom served as interim CEO from June 2016 to January 2017, before Hart officially became the CEO. Connally suggested that there would be no time limit on Grissom’s interim role.

“Let’s let the dust settle from the last day and half before we make bigger decisions,” Connally said.

The measure passed with a unanimous vote, ending the 13-minute meeting.

Hart was hired Nov. 30, after the agency spent five months looking for a replacement for former CEO Bill Johnson, who resigned 15 months into his two-year contract. Hart never signed a formal contract with Enterprise Florida. He left the department leaderless amid a battle with the state House, which is pushing a bill to eliminate both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.

Before joining Enterprise Florida, Grissom served as a senior director at the Florida Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Republican Party of Florida. He also held positions in the offices of Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Grissom will continue his duties as both executive vice president and interim CEO of the agency.

Janet Cruz and Oscar Braynon slam quality of Rick Scott’s jobs

Democratic leaders Janet Cruz of the House of Representatives and Oscar Braynon of the Florida Senate slammed Gov. Rick Scott‘s primary focal point — jobs creation — Tuesday by arguing that the jobs he’s attracting are low-wage, low-benefit.

Scott boasted that Florida “is on the verge of becoming the job creation capital of the world!” and cited the 1.26 million private sector jobs added since he was elected in 2010, including 237,000 last year, in his annual State of the State address Tuesday.

“But let’s talk about the kind of jobs the governor is focused on creating because that’s the dirty little secret he wants to keep from you,” Cruz, of Tampa, responded.

“The governor, and Republican leadership in this state, want to create low-paying jobs that benefit the largest corporations because lower wages means higher profits for those at the top of the economic ladder,” she alleged in a written statement. “There’s no disputing the facts: Florida continues to lag behind the nation in median income for our families.”

Braynon, of Miami Gardens, took on the same theme early in his written response.

“Everyone needs work; everyone needs a job. The problem is the kind of jobs he’s been bringing home to Florida,” Braynon stated. “Because the majority of his jobs are great for teenagers, or someone just starting out, but not for someone with skills, with training, with a strong work history, or a family to support.

“They’re not the kind of jobs that let you save for that new car, that down payment on a new house, or your kid’s future education,” he continued. “They’re not the kind of jobs that invest in the people. And it’s that commitment to investing in the people that’s been missing from too many areas in the seven years since Governor Scott first took office.”

The two Democratic leaders in the Florida Legislature did not stop with criticism of Scott’s jobs record. Both also blasted him for not securing Medicaid expansion for Florida and for supporting national Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and both went after him on education and environmental issues.

Braynon tied the matters to economic development, charging that Scott cannot attract high-caliber businesses and jobs because he’s not investing in the base corporate leaders want.

“Business executives want what the rest of us do, and it all comes down to quality of life: good schools and top-notch universities, quality, affordable healthcare, efficient transportation, and clean water and air,” he stated. “They want more than just a state that sells itself as ‘cheap.'”

Cruz broadened her criticism beyond Scott to include all current Republican leaders in Florida, and for the past 20 years, charging that they were driven by ideology and priorities that do not serve most Floridians.

“Whether it’s through tax breaks that only benefit the privileged few and the largest corporations or the relentless, ideological drive to privatize core functions of your state government, the Republican solution to every issue facing our state has been to find more ways to line the pockets of the wealthy and the well-connected at your expense,” she declared.

“If you take one thing away from my remarks today I want it to be this: Florida’s problems do not lie in our revenues or our spending. Florida’s problems lie in the misplaced priorities of 20 years of Republican leadership,” Cruz stated.

AFP-FL encourages Legislature to continue to support bill to eliminate Enterprise Florida

Americans for Prosperity-Florida applauded Gov. Rick Scott for his passion for job creation, but once again called on the Legislature to approve legislation that would eliminate economic incentive programs.

“There is no question that Governor Scott and the Florida legislature have helped Florida endure the recent recession, and through their effective leadership the state of our state is strong,” said Chris Hudson, the state director for AFP-FL, in a statement. “But make no mistake, the positive strides and gains we’ve made together are not because of top-down big-government programs. Because Florida entrepreneurs are the best investors of their dollars, they are thriving in the low tax, low regulatory environment which are among the most critical reasons millions of Americans from across the country have migrated to the Sunshine State.”

The organization has been a proponent for ending incentive programs, leading the charge during the 2016 Legislative Session to help block Scott’s proposal for $250 million for incentives. It’s also been out in full force in support of a bill (HB 7005) that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and a slew of other incentive programs. That measure could be heard by the full House later this week.

“We hope the legislature forgoes the call by Governor Scott to maintain a rigged system by keeping the quasi-state agency, Enterprise Florida in existence,” said Hudson. “Lawmakers have an opportunity to cut wasteful spending and end corporate welfare by passing HB 7005.”

In his statement, Hudson called on lawmakers to focus on “common sense free-market health care reforms to expand access for patients to receive the best care available” and encouraged support of school choice policies.

Rick Scott criticized for not mentioning LGBT community in State of State

Advocates blasted Gov. Rick Scott for failing to mention the LGBT community in his State of the State address, despite dedicating a significant portion of his comments on the June shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

“We heard about the horror that our state has experienced; we heard about the heroism from first responders and ordinary Floridians, and we heard about the pain of the families who lost loved ones,” said Hannah Willard, the public policy director for Equality Florida, during a news conference after Scott’s State of the State address.

“What we didn’t hear was any mention of the LGBT community. We didn’t hear … that the attack was a direct attack on LGBTQ Floridians in a nightclub in Orlando,” she continued. “Thoughts and prayers are not enough; we demand action. The LGBT community deserves action from our elected officials.”

Forty-nine people were killed, and dozens of others wounded, in a June shooting at an Orlando nightclub. The attack was the deadlines mass shooting the U.S. since Virginia Tech in 2007.

Scott spent days on end in the Orlando area, meeting with families and first responders. And the incident was featured heavily in his State of the State address.

“The days I spent in Orlando following the shooting will always be with me. I talked to many parents who lost their children,” he said in prepared remarks. “The hardest thing I have ever had to do as Governor is try to find the words to console a parent who lost their child, and I truly cannot imagine the grief of losing a child.”

Prepared remarks show the governor made no direct mention of the LGBT community in his speech.

“He called it a terrorist attack,” said Sen. Gary Farmer. “He had the audacity to not once mention the LGBT community that was so torn apart and was the target of a madman.”

Willard called on the Legislature to take action this year to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, saying the law was needed “more than ever before.”

“This piece of legislation has been introduced for almost a decade … and it does something very simple. It would add LGBT people to existing protections into our state, to make sure that no one faces discrimination in employment, in housing or in public spaces,” she said. “Every single Floridians deserved to be treated fairly under the law, no matter who they are and who they love.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permission.

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