LIBRE Initiative Releases Report Card for Florida Legislators

By: SUNSHINE STATE NEWS for News Talk Florida 

On Friday, the LIBRE Initiative, a group focused on Hispanics and that champions the free market, released its scorecard for Florida legislators.

Weighing more than 3,500 votes, LIBRE graded legislators on where they stood on fiscal matters, education, criminal justice reform and other issues.

LIBRE Florida Coalitions Director Cesar Grajales weighed in on the report card his group issued.

“Improving the future of our communities and growing our economy often requires our elected officials to fight for legislation that will remove barriers to opportunity,” Grajales said. “This year, the Florida legislature approved important bills on education, corporate welfare, and criminal justice reform – among other key issues. Through door knocking, phone banking, meetings with legislators – and other methods – our organization advocated for the interests of our community, and ensured that their priorities were heard. We applaud the members who received a passing grade for their effort to stand for the best interests of Floridians across the state.”

Almost three quarters of the legislators–118 of the 160–garnered passing grades while the rest of them failed.

In the state Senate, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, had the highest score of the 40 senators while Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Ft. Lauderdale, had the lowest. Fifteen members of the Senate–all Republicans–garnered “A+” grades from LIBRE including retiring Senate President Joe Negron, R-Palm City, and incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

In the House, state Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, scored highest. Then state Rep. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, had the lowest score in the House. Earlier this year, Berman won a special election and is now serving in the state Senate. More than 50 members of the Florida House–all Republicans–scored “A+” grades from LIBRE including retiring House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz, and incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Hialeah.