TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott pledged Tuesday to build up Florida's seaports and "open the doors of opportunity for foreign trade."
Seated at a desk on a cruise ship wharf in the Port of Tampa, Scott signed into law a bill that rolls back state regulation of port security before a crowd of maritime business executives and local elected officials.
The law lifts a requirement that truck drivers and other port workers get a state criminal records check in addition to a federal check. The change will save Florida businesses $3 million a year, Scott said.
State standards for physical security like fences, lighting and closed-circuit cameras also were eliminated. Standards set by the U.S. Coast Guard will remain in place.
"I promise I will get rid of burdensome, job-killing regulation," Scott told the crowd. The governor already helped steer $77 million to Miami's port to deepen the shipping channel and berths to handle bigger container cargo ships.
"We're going to focus on every one of Florida's ports to make sure they're ready," he said.
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