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Florida Chamber of Commerce Announces 2021 Distinguished Advocate Award Recipients

23 Legislators Who Championed Chamber-Backed, Pro-Jobs Legislation Recognized

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 13, 2021) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced its 2021 Distinguished Advocate Award recipients following another successful legislative session where twenty-two of its priorities were made into law. The Florida Chamber’s Distinguished Advocate Award recognizes those lawmakers who made sure the business community’s legislative priorities were considered, and who fought tirelessly for the passage of a Chamber-backed policy or pro-jobs legislation.

“These legislators showcased extraordinary leadership as architects, sponsors, or key supporters of legislation that helped grow Florida’s economy and were included in the Florida Chamber’s 2021 Jobs and Competitiveness Agenda,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Together, with the support of a united business community, these efforts will spur further economic growth, job creation and a more competitive Florida.” 

The 23 members of the Florida Legislature honored with a 2021 Florida Chamber Distinguished Advocate Award include:

  • Senate President Wilton Simpson continued his long-running leadership prioritizing Florida’s water quality, agriculture economy and broad business climate competitiveness.
  • House Speaker Chris Sprowls oversaw passage of generational education and literacy initiatives and investments in resiliency efforts to protect Florida’s coastline communities.
  • Senator Dennis Baxley worked unflinchingly to bring long overdue transparency and accountability to Florida’s public sector unions.
  • Senator Jim Boyd advanced reforms which address the cost drivers that are destabilizing Florida’s property insurance market and contribute to skyrocketing premiums.
  • Senator Jeff Brandes led the passage of commonsense COVID-19 liability protections for businesses who prioritized the safety of their employees and customers during the global pandemic.
  • Senator Jason Brodeur modernized Florida’s Right to Farm Act which will maintain the continuity of our food supply and protect Florida farmers from frivolous nuisance litigation.
  • Senator Manny Diaz empowered the parents of more than 61,000 Florida students to make the best education decisions for their children with generational school choice legislation.
  • Senator Joe Gruters leveled the playing field between out-of-state online retailers and local, brick-and-mortar businesses by closing the online sales tax loophole, while simultaneously preventing an immediate $713M unemployment tax on job creators and cutting the Florida-only sales tax on commercial leases from 5.5% to 2%.
  • Senator Kathleen Passidomo continued her leadership in protecting Florida’s business climate competitiveness by authoring bad faith reform language to root out fraud and abuse in Florida’s auto insurance market, and working with the business community to mitigate a sweeping, new private cause of action.
  • Senator Keith Perry sponsored innovative legislation aimed at flattening the fiscal cliffs that entrap many Floridians in generational poverty.
  • Senator Ray Rodrigues led policy efforts to protect Florida’s constitution, modernize Florida’s pension system, bring transparency and accountability to Florida’s public sector unions, and invest in resiliency efforts necessary to protect our coastline communities.
  • Representative Vance Aloupis sponsored and supported early childhood education, literacy and prosperity initiatives to promote equality of opportunity for all Floridians.
  • Representative Colleen Burton led passage of commonsense COVID-19 liability protections for businesses that prioritized the safety of their employees and customers during the global pandemic.
  • Representative Cord Byrd boldly led the charge on paycheck protection efforts for public sector workers against strong opposition from labor and activist groups.
  • Representative Chuck Clemons leveled the playing field between out-of-state online retailers and local, brick-and-mortar businesses by closing the online sales tax loophole, while simultaneously preventing an immediate $713M tax resulting from the pandemic on job creators and cutting the Florida-only sales tax on commercial leases from 5.5% to 2%.
  • Representative Randy Fine empowered the parents of more than 61,000 Florida students to make the best education decisions for their children with generational school choice legislation.
  • Representative Erin Grall completed a multiyear effort to bring accountability to Florida’s early childhood education system with passage of legislation that will help ensure 100% of Florida students are ready for kindergarten.
  • Representative Chip LaMarca leveled the playing field between out-of-state online retailers and local, brick-and-mortar businesses by closing the online sales tax loophole, while simultaneously preventing an immediate $713M tax resulting from the pandemic on job creators and cutting the Florida-only sales tax on commercial leases from 5.5% to 2%.
  • Representative Lawrence McClure led passage of commonsense COVID-19 liability protections for businesses that prioritized the safety of their employees and customers during the global pandemic.
  • Representative Toby Overdorf sponsored multiple lawsuit abuse reform bills to improve Florida’s bottom-5 legal climate.
  • Representative Bobby Payne sponsored a pro-business, pro-consumer tax package and guided efforts to further protect our state constitution from billionaire special interests.
  • Representative Bob Rommel advanced reforms which address the cost drivers that are destabilizing Florida’s property insurance market and contribute to skyrocketing premiums.
  • Representative Jayer Williamson modernized Florida’s Right to Farm Act which will maintain the continuity of our food supply and protect Florida farmers from frivolous nuisance litigation.
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“I sincerely appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the members of the Florida Chamber, our Policy Council and Board of Directors, as well as the more than 100 local chambers across Florida who make up the Local Chamber Federation representing job creators from every sector and corner of our state,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President. “In a session unlike any other, leaders of the business community united together as never before behind our competitiveness agenda to ensure Florida continues to lead the post-pandemic economic recovery.”

How They Voted Coming Soon
The Florida Chamber will soon release its annual How They Voted publication following the completion of the Special Session. This annual Report Card provides the grades earned by all 160 legislators based on their votes so business leaders can see who stood for, or against, job creation and economic growth. For a full recap of the 2021 Legislative Session, click here.

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