As legislative session looms, “People First” Report Card reveals where Florida lawmakers really stand on the issues

New website www.FloridaReportCard.com hosts grades for legislators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2017

Contact: Damien Filer / 850-212-1858 / Damien@ProgressFlorida.org

TALLAHASSEE – As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming legislative session, Progress Florida unveiled its “People First” Report Card grading every lawmaker on the votes they cast this past session across a wide spectrum of issues important to Floridians. All 158 active legislators were graded based on floor votes taken in their respective chambers – 20 votes in the House and 12 in the Senate. 

To achieve an “A” grade on the Report Card, lawmakers had to consistently vote to put ‘People First’ instead of powerful interests. Key votes scored include opposing a reckless state budget that rewards wealthy corporations at the expense of hardworking Floridians, standing up for our local public schools, protecting our land and water including the Everglades and rejecting the ‘Shoot First’ expansion of the misguided Stand Your Ground law.

“Floridians deserve to know where their legislators stand on major issues from gun safety and environmental protection to the economy and local schools,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo. “We scored our senators and representatives based not on what they say, but on how they actually voted on issues important to Floridians.” 

The 2017 Progress Florida “People First” Report Card for all legislators may be found at www.FloridaReportCard.com. Listed below are the 31 lawmakers who earned an “A” grade:

  • Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth)
  • Sen. Gary M. Farmer Jr. (D-Fort Lauderdale)
  • Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach)
  • Sen. Perry E. Thurston Jr. (D-Fort Lauderdale)
  • Sen. Victor M. Torres Jr. (D-Kissimmee)
  • Rep. Ramon Alexander (D-Tallahassee)
  • Rep. Bruce Antone (D-Orlando)
  • Rep. Loranne Ausley (D-Tallahassee)
  • Rep. Daisy J. Baez (D-Coral Gables)
  • Rep. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach)
  • Rep. Kamia L. Brown (D-Ocoee)
  • Rep. John Cortes (D-Kissimmee)
  • Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa)
  • Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg)
  • Rep. Joseph Geller (D-Dania Beach)
  • Rep. Patrick Henry (D-Daytona Beach)
  • Rep. Kristin Diane Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek)
  • Rep. Evan Jenne (D-Hollywood)
  • Rep. Shevrin D. “Shev” Jones (D-West Park)
  • Rep. Larry Lee Jr. (D-Fort Pierce)
  • Rep. Kionne L. McGhee (D-Culter Bay)
  • Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando)
  • Rep. Sharon Pritchett (D-Miramar)
  • Rep. Barrington A. "Barry" Russell (D-Lauderhill)
  • Rep. Sean Shaw (D-Tampa)
  • Rep. David Silvers (D-West Palm Beach)
  • Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Winter Park)
  • Rep. Cynthia A. Stafford (D-Opa Locka)
  • Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston)
  • Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami Gardens)
  • Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. (D-Gainesville) 

High-profile votes that were considered in grading lawmakers included the controversial, anti-public school education bill (HB 7069), Everglades restoration (SB 10), the so-called ‘Whiskey and Wheaties’ bill (SB 106), ‘Shoot First’ legislation (SB 128), attacks on the independence of our courts including imposing judicial term limits (HJR 1), and one of the worst state budgets in years (SB 2500), among others. The complete list of bills scored can be found at www.FloridaReportCard.com. 

“This year’s budget was drafted in secret and rewards the wealthy and well-connected with more unneeded tax giveaways while simultaneously shortchanging our public schools, cutting health care for children, seniors, and hardworking families, and completely ignoring the will of the voters to protect our precious natural resources,” said Ferrulo. 

“The Progress Florida 'People First' Report Card will help Floridians understand if their concerns are being represented in Tallahassee – or if they are being ignored at the behest of corporate special interests,” he added.

The "People First" Report Card is an outgrowth of Progress Florida’s Middle Class Champions award that recognized legislators who got a perfect score. Now, Floridians can see where every legislator ranks from A to F. 

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For more information, go to www.FloridaReportCard.com. 

Progress Florida is a statewide organization fighting to build a more progressive Florida. Learn more at www.ProgressFlorida.org