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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Associated Industries names its 'Champions for Business' in legislature

From the Republican-leaning Associated Industries for Florida:

“At AIF, we proudly honor those elected officials who defend Florida’s competitive climate and continually strive to keep the Sunshine State a place where businesses and families can prosper,” said AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney.  “AIF acknowledges this year’s ‘Champions for Business’ for their commendable leadership and advocacy on behalf of Florida’s business community.”

The 2016 recipients include:

Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) is receiving his fourth AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Senator Latvala is saluted for carrying legislation that aimed to provide incentives for Florida’s business community in order to bolster the state’s economy. Senator Latvala’s Economic Development package included a provision that renamed the “Quick Action Closing Fund” and instated the requirement that each new project vying for this incentive must create at least 10 new jobs before being eligible to receive the incentive funds.  By this action alone, Senator Latvala’s legislation would help Florida become a premiere location for business and job creation.

Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) is receiving her fifth AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Senator Hukill showed critical leadership during her efforts to reduce taxes for Florida’s businesses and families year after year.  This year, she sponsored legislation that made the tax exemption for manufacturing equipment permanent.  Implementing the manufacturing tax exemption was not only a top priority for AIF’s Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense Council, but will also make Florida competitive with states that already allow for this exemption.

Senator Charlie Dean (R-Inverness) is receiving his second AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Senator Dean effectively defended the state’s water resources by successfully carrying Senate Bill 552, Environmental Resources, to the finish line this year.  This legislation addresses Florida’s impending water shortage by implementing a broad-based, comprehensive water policy that will protect Florida’s precious springs and water resources.  As a top priority, AIF and the Florida H2O Coalition are beyond pleased that SB 552 was the first bill signed into law by Governor Rick Scott for the 2016 Legislative Session.

Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is receiving his third AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Senator Bean is applauded for his leadership in tort reform and protecting this important legal principle for Floridians.  Senator Bean understands the importance of safeguarding the legal system from stealth attacks by the trial bar that undermines the state’s friendly business climate.  He was successful in identifying and blocking legislation during the committee process that would have created loopholes in comparative fault statutes and permitted the unfair doctrine of joint and several liability to creep back into Florida law.  His action to protect the philosophy that a person should only pay for their fair share of damages echoed the warnings and concerns expressed by AIF and its colleagues in the business community.

Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples) is a receiving his sixth AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award for championing the Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources legislation.  Although this legislation ultimately did not gain final passage, AIF applauds the effort to institute legislation aimed at growing Florida’s onshore energy industry while providing safeguards for the environment.  This legislation sought to revise the Oil and Gas Program under the Department of Environmental Protection’s Mining and Minerals Regulation Program in the Division of Water Resource Management to establish safer and more effective practices for oil and gas drilling, production and exploration activities within Florida.  AIF supported the need to maintain appropriate permitting laws to protect the environment, enhance efficiency between industry and the state, and ensure that clear appropriate standards are met and clearly communicated.

Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) is receiving his third AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Representative Boyd successfully sponsored an Economic Development package that aimed to provide incentives for Florida’s business community in order to bolster the state’s economy.  Economic development involves the state and local governments working together to improve the state’s business environment and competitiveness, to create and retain jobs, and to continually increase incomes.  Legislation such as this would make Florida a premiere location for business and job creation.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) is receiving his third AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Representative Gaetz is applauded for his commitment to providing tax cuts for Florida’s businesses and families.  Representative Gaetz’s successful work on this year’s tax package, House Bill 7099, will amount to $129.1 million in cuts for fiscal year 2016-2017.  His sponsorship and steadfast work on this legislation will promote and solidify Florida’s standing as one of the best states to live in and conduct business.  Governor Scott signed HB 7099 into law on April 13, 2016, and will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) is receiving his fourth AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Representative Caldwell exhibited significant leadership in sponsoring the Environmental Resources legislation.  Representative Caldwell successfully sponsored, along with Senator Dean, legislation that addresses Florida’s impending water shortage by implementing a broad-based, comprehensive water policy that will protect springs and water resources.  SB 552 was the first bill to be signed into law by Governor Scott on January 21, 2016, and will take effect on July 1, 2016, changing the future of Florida’s most precious and valuable resources.

Representative Frank Artiles (R-Miami) is receiving his second AIF ‘Champion for Business' Award.  Representative Artiles commendably took the lead in sponsoring Information Technology legislation that will bring the state’s cyber security measures up to date in order to protect Floridians and Florida’s businesses from a potential cyber-attack.  Getting the Legislature to understand the urgency for the implementation of a consistent and cohesive process for an IT security framework was no easy feat.  Throughout the 2016 Session, Representative Artiles worked tirelessly to see this measure through, and because of that effort, HB 1033 was signed into law by Governor Scott on March 25, 2016, and will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers) is receiving his second AIF ‘Champion for Business’ Award.  Representative Rodrigues championed the Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources legislation, identical to Senator Richter’s.  Although this legislation ultimately did not gain final passage, AIF applauds the effort to institute legislation aimed at growing Florida’s onshore energy industry while providing safeguards for the environment.  This legislation sought to revise the Oil and Gas Program under the Department of Environmental Protection’s Mining and Minerals Regulation Program in the Division of Water Resource Management to establish safer and more effective practices for oil and gas drilling, production and exploration activities within Florida.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 2:29pm]

    

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