Clay Ford named AIF Legislator of the Year

TALLAHASSEE – Following the most business-friendly session advanced by the Florida House of Representatives since 2008, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) is proud to acknowledge state lawmakers who made such a pro-business session possible through the announcement of the 2012 Champion for Business awards and as its Legislators of the Year.

Based on statistics compiled from AIF’s 2012 Voting Records Report, the 2012 Champion for Business awards are presented to those who are dedicated to protecting and enhancing Florida’s businesses and employees. The 16 legislators honored this year have proven track records of working – sometimes on controversial issues – to create a thriving business climate in our state. While the awards will be formally presented to winners during the Champion for Business ceremony held in conjunction with AIF’s Annual Conference in September, the benefits of these legislators’ hard work will be felt much earlier.

“Businesses – big and small – are the lifeblood of our state. Florida’s economic climate depends on their health and stability. As the voice of Florida business, AIF is proud to honor pro-business legislators who made positive strides for our state with the 2012 Champion for Business awards. Each year, our award recipients embody a dedication to Florida businesses and this year was no different,” said Tom Feeney, AIF President and CEO.

Rep. Clay Ford (R-Pensacola) and Sen. Jim Norman (R-Tampa) are both being recognized as Legislators of the Year by the AIF Environmental Sustainability Council for their work in passage of metal theft legislation. As the prime sponsors of HB 885 and SB 1324, these two legislators spearheaded efforts to address costly metal theft in our state. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals have realized there is a lucrative market for metals in our state. This up tick in metal theft is coming at a very high cost for business owners who are victims of these crimes. Both HB 885 and SB 1324 include important provisions to deter this practice.

Established by AIF in 2003, the Champion for Business awards program was created to acknowledge the efforts of lawmakers who sponsored and defended pro-business bills, as well as those who worked behind-the-scenes on legislation critical to the prosperity of Florida businesses.

The 2012 Champion for Business awards were announced following the release of AIF’s annual Voting Records Report last month. AIF tracked more than 13,200 votes cast on 114 business-related bills and amendments. Members’ votes, which include committee and floor votes, are used to generate a percentage ranking of votes made in favor of pro-business legislation.