The Florida Chamber of Commerce honored 41 Republican lawmakers and three Democrats from among the states 160 legislators for support of the business advocacy groups agenda in the 2012 regular session.
Top honors went to House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, named the 2012 Most Valuable Legislator and Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, given the Chairmans Award, in an announcement released by the chamber on Tuesday.
The MLV is the chambers premier award, honoring a single lawmaker for leadership on free enterprise issues.
Speaker Cannon is a champion of free enterprise and understands government doesnt create jobs -- government creates the right environment for the private-sector to create jobs, Anthony Connelly, Florida Chamber chairman and senior vice president, and CFO of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, stated in a release.
The chamber noted that Dorworth, as chairman of the House Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee, improved the states business environment by eliminating 270 duplicative and antiquated regulations.
His leadership will enable businesses to continue to create new jobs for Floridians, and it is my honor to name him the recipient of this years Chairmans Award, Connelly stated in the release.
During the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers passed 22 Florida Chamber-backed pro-business, pro-jobs bills and defeated dozens of anti-business bills.
These awards are issued on top of the chamber's annual report card, which also gave higher marks to the GOP members.
Others honored Tuesday:
Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales: Championed several Florida Chamber-backed priorities and sponsored legislation that significantly reduces assessments on homeowner and business insurance policies in the aftermath of a major hurricane. He also developed and passed a pro-jobs balanced budget without raising taxes and fees on businesses.
Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed unemployment compensation legislation saving Floridas job creators $549 million over two years.
Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported legislation that allows certain funds from plans participating in the states managed care program to help fund graduate medical education institution residency programs, and she prevented the Florida Chamber-opposed E-Verify mandate from coming up in committee.
Sen. LizBeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers: Sponsored a significant Florida Chamber-backed education bill to expand the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to provide more children with private scholarships to quality education programs.
Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation creating a statewide Environmental Resource Permit Rule with single point-of-entry into Floridas environmental permitting process, which reduces the cost of doing business in Florida while protecting our valuable environment. She also championed legislation that would have helped level the playing field for Floridas small businesses by closing the Internet-only sales tax loophole while remaining revenue-neutral.
Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Destin: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation to enhance regulatory reform efforts by giving the governor authority over the state agency department heads he supervises at all times. He also led the charge to ensure Floridas universities are aligning their strategies and focus with the employment needs of a knowledge-based economy by establishing the critical link between the high-wage jobs of the future and student outputs from Floridas universities.
Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation that would have reduced rising workers compensation rates for businesses by $62 million if the Florida Senate president would have allowed members to vote on it.
Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported legislation that gives 21st century technology options for students in public schools by allowing students entering grades K-5 to participate in Florida Virtual Schools full-time virtual instruction programs and full-time virtual charter schools.
Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee: Crossed party lines and supported Florida Chamber-backed issues such as auto insurance/PIP reform and tax relief for Floridas businesses.
Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville: Filed and passed Florida Chamber-supported legislation to help return Citizens to the insurer of last resort, keep private insurance companies solvent after a hurricane and reduce assessments on customers of private insurers in the event of a hurricane.
Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville: Supported the Florida Chambers agenda as Rules chair by making sure key bills were heard in committee and advanced to the floor.
Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples: Stood strong with the Florida Chamber on important legal reform legislation that attempted to eliminate junk science in Floridas courts just as our federal courts have done; this expert witness bill would have strengthened the integrity of Floridas courts and empowered judges to serve as gatekeepers when considering proposed expert testimony. He was also a leader in the Senate for strong PIP auto insurance reform.
Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville: Championed Florida Chamber-backed legislation that, had it passed, would have supported teachers through improved professional development options and benefits provided by professional associations. He also sponsored and passed legislation that builds on Floridas efforts to attract spaceflight businesses and commercial space companies to Florida by adding Cecil Airport to Space Floridas master planning program.
Florida House of Representatives:
Rep. Ben Albritton, R-Bartow: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation to reform Floridas property insurance market by returning Citizens to the insurer of last resort, keeping private insurance companies solvent after a major storm and reducing assessments on customers of private insurers in the event of a hurricane.
Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach: Supported Florida Chamber-backed workers comp reform that would have lowered costs on businesses by $62 million and sponsored the key amendment which passed on the House floor.
Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton: Sponsored an important Florida Chamber-backed bill reducing auto insurance/PIP fraud, abuse and attorney fees.
Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral: Fought for free enterprise and job creation by supporting Florida Chamber-backed priorities through committee and the House floor as chair of the Rules and Calendar Committee.
Rep. Michael Bileca, R-West Palm Beach: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported empowerment bill aiming to increase education options for parents and students.
Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg: Filed Florida Chamber-backed legislation that would have ensured teachers have options as it relates to professional development. He also sponsored a bill reforming local government pension systems.
Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported legislation that protects Floridas decision not to tax service fees for booking travel to Florida.
Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation creating a statewide Environmental Resource Permit Rule with single point-of-entry into Floridas environmental permitting process, and which reduces the cost of doing business in Florida while protecting our valuable environment.
Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando: Championed a Florida Chamber-supported exemption increase on tangible personal property valued between $25,000 to $50,000, which will save job creators $20 million a year if passed by voters on the November ballot.
Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring: Developed and passed a Florida Chamber-supported, pro-jobs balanced budget without raising taxes or fees on businesses.
Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton: Championed Florida Chamber-backed CAT fund legislation that would have reduced assessments on homeowners and businesses following a storm, prepared Florida to financially weather a hurricane and stabilized Floridas insurance market.
Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed unemployment comp legislation saving job creators $549 million over two years.
Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation leveling the playing field on sales tax collection for Floridas bricks-and-mortar businesses by closing a loophole that gives out-of-state online retailers an advantage over Florida businesses.
Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported workers comp reform legislation to save businesses $62 million in rate increases.
Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange: Sponsored a Florida Chamber-supported bill to eliminate individual company limits for economic development incentives on businesses creating high-wage jobs in targeted industries such as defense and aerospace, and she worked diligently to move the important economic development legislation through the House of Representatives.
Rep. John Patrick Julien, D-North Miami Beach: Supported Florida Chamber-backed pro-business legislation such as workers comp reform and the Florida tax credit scholarship program.
Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami: Was an integral part of the leadership team in executing a Florida Chamber-backed business-friendly agenda and remained focused on putting free enterprise principles ahead of special interest.
Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka: Supported Florida Chamber-backed efforts that made significant reforms to Floridas auto insurance market and Citizens Insurance.
Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported legislation to streamline Floridas regulatory process, eliminate costly duplicative regulations, expand the use of general permits and protect Floridas environment.
Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported legal reform legislation to eliminate Floridas reputation as a haven for bad-faith insurance lawsuits.
Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood: Sponsored a Florida Chamber-backed bill that would have clarified in Florida statutes that Internet cafes are illegal in Florida.
Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando: Led Florida Chamber-supported legislative efforts to provide substantial tax relief for businesses, including manufacturers, and also provide additional tax relief by raising the corporate income tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.
Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation building on Floridas efforts to attract spaceflight businesses and commercial space companies to Florida by adding Cecil Airport to Space Floridas master planning program; he was a key player in strengthening Floridas role as a global hub for trade.
Rep. Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill: Stood strong with the business community on Florida Chamber-supported legislation that would have made important reforms to the workers comp system by reducing rising rates for businesses and lowering the cost by $62 million.
Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland: Sponsored a Florida Chamber-backed education bill giving 21st century technology options to students in public schools and allows students entering grades K-5 to participate in Florida Virtual Schools full-time virtual instruction programs and full-time virtual charter schools.
Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel: Led efforts to support Florida Chamber-backed unemployment comp tax relief by reducing the tax increases by approximately $50 per employee, saving employers $549 million over two years.
Rep. Trudi Williams, R-Fort Myers: Sponsored Florida Chamber-supported efforts to create regulatory certainty for utilities that invest in alternative water projects by extending their permit duration to 30 years.
Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne: Sponsored Florida Chamber-backed legislation that helps ensure Florida remains a global leader in spaceflight activity by providing flexibility to Space Florida and strengthening the states aviation and aerospace industries to result in more economic activity and job creation.
Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa: Filed important Florida Chamber-supported legislation creating regulatory certainty for utilities to invest in water treatment plants and piping systems to encourage the use of reclaimed water by their customers.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.