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Florida Democratic state Senators score high in AIF’s 2015 voting scorecard

Associated Industries of Florida, considered a powerhouse lobbyist group for the business establishment in Tallahassee, has produced their annual scorecard on how often state lawmakers have maintained the AFI line, and the discrepancy isn’t that large between Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate, at least.

AIF’s 2015 Voting Records contains each of the state’s 120 legislators voting records on what the group considers “key business issues.” Senate Republicans voted AIF’s way 95 percent of the time, Senate Democrats, 92 percent.

There was a much bigger gap in the House: Republicans received a 95 percent score from AIF, Democrats just 69 percent.

“We applaud the Governor and the Florida Legislature for continuing to ensure our state’s economic climate remains competitive by way of lower taxes, job creation, streamlining regulations and increasing opportunities in the marketplace,” said AFI President and CEO Tom Feeney. “We thank them for their efforts during the 2015 Legislative Session and Special Session to pass a balanced budget that included more than $400 million in tax cuts, most notably a reduction in the Communications Services Tax, as well as funding of the most critical environmental needs through Amendment 1 dollars.”

Environmentalists around the state would undoubtedly dispute Feeney’s comment about the Legislature’s efforts to sufficiently fund Amendment 1, since in fact they are suing them for what they say was its failure to fulfill the funding mandate that the constitutional amendment calls for. Amendment 1 is the water and land conservation measure overwhelmingly approved by voters last November.

In terms of individual lawmakers scores, six senators received 100 percent scores: Republicans Andy Gardiner from Orlando, Rob Bradley from Orange Park, Charlie Dean from Inverness, and Pasco County’s John Legg. The two Democrats are Jeremy Ring from Margate and Joseph Abruzzo from Palm Beach County.

The lowest ranking senator with a score of 79 percent was Fort Lauderdale Democrat Chris Smith.

On the House side, all seven representatives garnering 100 percent scores are all Republicans: Tampa’s Dana  Young and Shawn Harrison are two of them. Ray Pilon from Sarasota County, Holly Raschein from Key Largo and Miami’s Jose Felix Diaz.  St. Augustine’s Travis Hutson and veteran Rep. Doc Renuart only voted two and three times, respectively, in the 2015 House, because of running in other elections. They both had 100 percent totals from those minimal votes.

House Minority leader Mark Pafford received the lowest score from AIF, receiving a 35 percent score. AIF said he had 7 votes for their agenda, and 13 against.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at

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