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Business group rates Legislature

State legislators got a report card from the Florida Chamber of Commerce Friday, and most of them made passing grades.

The chamber graded members according to their votes on 14 business-related issues important to the state's economic health.

"The Legislature is starting to recognize that they can't keep slamming business in these hard economic times," said chamber lobbyist Jim Brainerd.

Overall, grades were up from last year, when the chamber first issued report cards, Brainerd said.

"We believe that this more pro-business stance comes from legislators recognizing that the economy can't come out of recession without legislation that allows business to grow and create jobs."

The scores were based on whether legislators voted with the chamber on issues like health care, tax exemptions, private property rights, bankruptcy reform, environmental permitting and other issues.

Only 18 legislators earned perfect scores. They were Sens. Bill Bankhead, R-Ponte Vedra Beach; Locke Burt, R-Ormond Beach; Rick Dantzler, D-Winter Haven; Mario Diaz Balart, R-Miami; Patricia Grogan, D-Merritt Island; Robert Harden, R-Fort Walton Beach; Toni Jennings, R-Orlando; George Kirkpatrick, D-Gainesville; Curt Kiser, R-Palm Harbor; John McKay, R-Bradenton; Pat Thomas, D-Quincy; William H. Turner, D-Hialeah; Charles Williams, D-Tallahassee; and Senate President Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville.

House members with a perfect score were Reps. R.Z. "Sandy" Safley, R-Clearwater; Charles Sembler, R-Sebastian; Robert Sindler, D-Apopka; and J. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami.

The lowest score went to Sen. Jim Boczar, D-Sarasota, who voted with business only 50 percent of the time. Other scores below 70 went to Sens. Matthew Meadows, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, and Reps. Mary Brennan, D-Pinellas Park; Ron Glickman, D-Tampa; Elaine Gordon, D-North Miami; Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee; Phil Mishkin, D-Port Richey; Luis Rojas, R-Hialeah; and Brian Rush, D-Tampa.

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