Friday, January 7, 2011

Here we go...

Tallahassee was bustling with inaugural activity this week as Governor Rick Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam were sworn into office. During his inauguration speech, Gov. Scott's message focused on creating jobs through lower taxes, leaner government and a concerted economic development effort aimed at making it easier for companies to come to Florida.

Within an hour of taking the oath of office on Tuesday, Gov. Scott got to work by signing four executive orders. The governor's first order freezes rules and sets up an Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform to determine if existing and proposed rules have an effect on jobs. Other orders adopt a tougher ethics code, reaffirm a continuation of open government and a ban on hiring discrimination based on race, gender, creed, color or national origin. The orders cover agencies under the governor's control but not those he jointly oversees with the three-member Cabinet nor constitutional, legislative and judicial agencies.

Lawmakers also got to work this week, filing bills including HB 119 by Rep. Matt Hudson (R-101), which contains several important nursing home deregulations Provisions included in the bill are similar to those from Rep. Hudson's bill last year, which was vetoed by the Governor after a last-minute controversial ultrasound amendment was added.

FHCA encourages its members to continue meeting with lawmakers before they head to Tallahassee in March. Consider inviting them into your facility for a tour, meet with them at their district office or attend your local legislative delegation meetings. Building those relationships now will add to the success of your experience at FHCA's 2011 Lobby Wednesdays, which begin February 9th and run through April 13th. For more information about Lobby Wednesdays, visit the FHCA website.

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