The 2021 Legislative Session is in the rearview and most major bills that made it through the Legislature have already hit the Governor’s desk.
Now, it’s report card season.
Many organizations grade lawmakers for their votes on key bills, but the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Report Card is the most comprehensive. Most years, tabulates about 4,000 votes made in committee hearings and on chamber floors. The 2021 edition approaches 5,000.
Among the many Chamber priorities this year were bills to protect businesses from COVID-19 liability lawsuits, require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax for online purchases, expand and streamline school choice, cut the commercial rents sales tax, address cost drivers in the property insurance market, and boost voluntary pre-kindergarten accountability.
For the most part, the Chamber’s wishes came true with 22 of their priorities making it through the Legislature.
“Florida’s economy won with the Florida Chamber-backed, pro-jobs policy passed during the 2021 Legislative Session,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Mark Wilson. “The actions taken by Governor DeSantis and Florida’s lawmakers will go a long way in continuing to build momentum towards creating the more than 2 million jobs necessary to take Florida from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th largest by 2030 and securing Florida’s future.”
Bills and policies on the test were outlined in the Florida Chamber’s pre-Legislative Session agenda, “Where We Stand.” A copy was sent to every lawmaker before their first votes were cast.
Just in case they forgot to check the mail, the Chamber transmitted a “Your Vote Matters” letter outlining the pro-business position and the Florida Chamber’s intent to score the vote to each voting member of the Legislature. In total, the Chamber produced a “Your Vote Matters” letter for 167 bills or policies.
Further, Florida Chamber leadership met with media, legislators and staff in advance of and throughout the 2021 Legislative Session.
The average lawmaker scored 79% on the Chamber’s scale, a C+ on some scales but a flat C in the chamber rubric. The average Senator scored an 80% — good enough for a B.
Overall, 88 lawmakers earned an A, 13 landed a B and eight skated by with a C and a dozen are staring at a D. The other 39 lawmakers failed, and there are no summer school opportunities at the Capitol.
The Florida Chamber awarded 23 Legislators made the honor roll of sorts, earning a 2021 Distinguished Advocate Award. Winners include Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls as well as nine other Senators and a dozen other Representatives.