June 19, 2000

TALLAHASEE -- Today, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) released its 2000 Voting Records. AIF has been publishing this annual legislative rankings on Florida business issues for three decades.

The report, based on a total of 4,731 votes cast by Florida senators and representatives on 53 bills, shows overall rankings of 72 percent pro-business votes (down from 83 percent in 1999) in the Senate, and 83 percent pro-business votes (down from 88 percent in 1999) in the House.

"The numbers look worse," said Jon L. Shebel, AIF’s president and CEO, "but the results were still good."

Shebel attributed the lower rankings to committee votes for health benefit mandates and HMO lawsuits, which the business association opposed. "When it came down to the wire, the HMO lawsuit bills and all but one of the mandates failed passage," he noted. We lost a few battles, but we won the war."

Unlike most previous years, not one lawmaker received a perfect score. The highest rank in the Senate went to Sen. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami), with 84 percent. Rep. Art Argenio (R-Stuart) led the House with 93 percent of votes cast in favor of positions advocated by AIF. The lowest rank in the two chambers went to Sen. Burt L. Saunders (R-Naples) and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-West Palm Beach).

In the Senate, Republicans voted with AIF 74 percent of the time, while Democrats did so 70 percent of the time. The rankings for the parties in the House were 84 percent for Republicans and 80 percent for Democrats. 

"While Republicans are more reliably pro-free enterprise," said Randy Miller, AIF’s senior executive vice president and COO, "the closeness of the rankings shows that, in the end, most members of the two parties want to continue the growth in prosperity for Floridians."

Attached is a copy of AIF’s full report. AIF publishes Voting Records as a tool for business people to use in deciding which candidates they will support in the upcoming elections.

Associated Industries of Florida is a statewide employers association representing 10,000 businesses that range from large multinational corporations to small family-owned enterprises. AIF is commonly known as "The Voice of Florida Business."