With the Legislative Session in the rearview and bills hitting the Governor’s desk daily, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has released its annual report card grading lawmakers’ performance.
Since Sine Die, the Chamber has been focused on helping businesses navigate how best to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it found some time over the past few months to tabulate and grade the 4,000-plus votes cast by lawmakers during Session.
The Chamber’s 2020 Legislative Report Card compares lawmakers’ vote records against the legislative agenda the Chamber released ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session.
All members of the Florida Legislature received two copies of the Florida Business Agenda, outlined in Where We Stand, one in the mail and another hand delivered.
The agenda emphasizes policies that “lower the cost of living, reduce the cost of doing business, prepare for future growth, and protect Florida’s Constitution.” Additionally, the Chamber sent a “Your Vote Matters” explaining their position and letting officials know that their vote would be part of their grade.
The Chamber said a dozen of their priority bills made it through the legislature.
Specifically, the Chamber backed school choice expansions, economic development and tourism marketing such as VISIT FLORIDA, the water quality investments championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the ban on sunscreen bans, rural community investments, and preserving affordable housing funding.
Overall, lawmakers delivered — 107 lawmakers earned an A or B, 11 got a C, 24 got a D and 16 flunked.
The report card grades were broken down into six categories: Business Climate, Governance, Infrastructure, Innovation, Quality of Life and Talent.
On a percentage scale, the average Representative earned an 85% and the average Senator scored an 89%, both improvements over the 2019 Legislative Report Card.
A whopping 70 lawmakers — 15 senators and 55 representatives — earned perfect scores, among them Senate President Bill Galvano, Senate Budget Chief Rob Bradley, House Speaker José Oliva and House Budget Chief Travis Cummings.
“Transparency and accountability are essential in the legislative arena, and our legislative report card helps small businesses, taxpayers and voters know if their elected officials voted to secure Florida’s future with pro-business votes,” Florida Chamber executive vice president David Hart said.