Florida is well-positioned to see continued growth in the coming years as a result of the actions of Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature in this year’s regular legislative session. That’s the conclusion of the James Madison Institute (JMI), the state’s oldest and largest nonprofit research and educational organization.
A number of bills supported by JMI were passed by lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Scott this year dealing with education, economic prosperity and private property rights.
“The 2017 Florida Legislative Session was an important session for Florida’s future,” said JMI President and CEO Dr. Bob McClure. “The entire team at JMI worked hard to educate and inform state legislators on policies that significantly advance limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom.”
Among the top priorities for JMI was school choice which was part of the massive education bill (HB 7069) that was passed in the closing days of the session.
The law would create the “Schools of Hope” program. Under that program, the state would put $140 million dollars into a fund that charter operators could access. The charters could use those tax dollars to open new schools in areas where elementary and middle schools have been rated D or F schools for at least three years in a row.
The law is being challenged by the Broward County School Board which argues the program forces public schools to share tax dollars with private charter school operators.
JMI cites limited government policies as another victory in the regular session, along with pushing for an environment that encourages growth and innovation. The organization points to the ridesharing legislation and Everglades restoration as significant victories.
“Protecting property rights in the Everglades, allowing free markets to flourish in the transportation industry, and increasing educational opportunities for Florida’s children are just a few of the ways the Florida Legislature stepped forward and showed the nation that freedom and liberty work,” added McClure.
Despite their victories, McClure says there is still unfinished business involving free markets and limited government that JMI will continue to push in the 2018 legislative session.