Key Votes 2022
The Tampa Bay Chamber is driven to fulfill the promise of shared regional prosperity – a heavy lift, but one that we cannot do without well-informed and energized members. To accomplish more, we need greater transparency around policy progress and setbacks. We believe all elected officials should embrace and courageously support strong, empowered local government because it is the right thing to do and because the future of our region depends on it. As a politically active but non-partisan organization, we push for progress with members of both parties in each legislative delegation: Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas. No matter how often a legislator voted for or against the Chamber’s positions, our door is always open to dialogue.
Key Votes 2022 reflects the actions of our State Representatives and Senators on bills impacting the Chamber’s members, partners and community stakeholders. We will continue to meet with and work with all members of the legislature to share the stories of our members and to build bridges toward a unified, thriving Tampa Bay. If your lawmakers didn’t support the Chamber’s positions, call them, discuss the impact to our communities, and tell them your concerns and priorities. And if your elected officials showed up for our community, please call them to thank them.
Bob Rohrlack, DBA, CCE
For a summary of the Chamber's federal, state and local key issues, see the Chamber's Legislative Agenda.
Find more about the Chamber’s policy initiatives.
Table of Contents
Rebecca Arends – Moffitt Cancer Center
Edwin Narain – AT&T
Andy Mayts – Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
Brian Butler – Vistra Communications
President & CEO
Dr. Bob Rohrlack, CCE – Tampa Bay Chamber
Vice President, Advocacy
Nicholas Glover – Tampa Bay Chamber
Policy Council Members
- Debra Bauman – DPR Construction
- Josh Baumgartner – Tampa Electric|TECO Peoples Gas
- Matthew Blair – Corcoran Partners
- Sandra Braham – Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services
- Melanie Brown – AdventHealth
- Chris Chambers – Tampa Electric | TECO Peoples Gas
- Jeff Chernoff – IAT, Inc
- Sarah Combs – University Area Community Development Corp.
- Michael Corcoran – Corcoran Partners
- Kim DeBosier – WGI
- John DeLaVergne – DeLaVergne & Company
- Robin DeLaVergne – Tampa General Hospital
- Megan Dempsey – Shumaker
- John Flanagan – CareerSource Tampa Bay
- Matt Floyd – The Mosaic Company
- Kimberly Guy – St. Joseph's Hospital HQ
- Charles Hokanson – Helios Education Foundation
- Chris Karlo – MercuryWorks
- Lauren Key – AdventHealth
- Cathie Koch – Bloomin Brands
- Robert Ledford – Baker Barrios Architects
- Rick Lindstrom – Rutledge Ecenia, PA
- Christopher Minner – Tampa International Airport
- John Mitchell – Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida)
- Jessica Muroff – United Way Suncoast
- Aakash Patel – Elevate, Inc.
- Lynda Remund – Tampa Downtown Partnership
- Liz Reynolds – USAA
- Clara Rienhoff – Highwoods Properties, Inc.
- Jack Rybicki – CLA
- Yvette Segura – Yvette Segura Consulting
- Jeffrey Senese – Saint Leo University
- Bill Schifino – Gunster
- Andrew Smith – Goldman Sachs
- Ryan Toth – The Beck Group
- Lauren Valiente – Foley & Lardner LLP
- Percy Wells – Coca Cola Beverages - Florida
- Jamie Wilson – Moffitt Cancer Center
An integral component of the Tampa Bay Chamber’s mission is to communicate the views of the business community to our elected officials. Our Advocacy group identifies, prioritizes and recommends policy to our Board of Directors for those issues that affect our local economy, business environment and quality of life in Tampa Bay.
The Chamber’s Key Votes 2022* tracks legislators’ votes on bills related to our Legislative Agenda’s guiding principles:
- Business & Economic Development,
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,
- Heath Care,
- Military & Defense,
- Workforce Development & Education, and
- Workforce Housing.
Key Votes tracks whether legislators voted for or against the Chamber’s legislative priorities.
We hope Key Votes 2022 provides some background and accountability in the efforts towards the priorities of the business community in Tampa Bay. This is not an exhaustive review of every bill considered or that we supported or prioritized during the 2022 legislative session, nor is it a complete picture of a legislator’s record on issues related to the Chamber. Rather, Key Votes provides a useful snapshot of which legislators side with the Chamber on full floor votes.
We thank the legislators who supported our legislative efforts. We hope Key Votes 2022 adds another dimension to assessing legislators’ track records when viewed alongside scorecards from our allied stakeholders and regional partners. We look forward to working with the Florida Legislature in the 2023 session to continue the work of ensuring a strong and vibrant business community in Tampa Bay.
Key Votes 2022 is not a voter guide. While the Tampa Bay Chamber hopes this vote tracker will help you understand more about the legislative process in order to become a stronger advocate, it only tells part of the story when it comes to electing individual legislators. When accessing the qualifications of any candidate or incumbent, voters should consider matters such as performance on committees, constituent services, and positions on all matters in addition to those included here.
|Dianne "Ms Dee" Hart||Dem||61||Hillsborough|
|Traci Koster||Rep||64||Hillsborough, Pinellas|
|Michele Rayner||Dem||70||Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Sarasota|
|Chris Sprowls – House Speaker||Rep||65||Pinellas|
|Susan L. Valdes||Dem||62||Hillsborough|
|Jim Boyd||Rep||21||Hillsborough, Manatee|
|Danny Burgess||Rep||20||Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk|
|Ed Hooper||Rep||16||Pasco, Pinellas|
|Darryl Ervin Rouson||Dem||19||Hillsborough, Pinellas|
|Wilton Simpson – Senate President||Rep||10||Citrus, Hernando, Pasco|
2022 State Legislative Agenda
Economic development and business thrive where regional collaboration is strong, growth benefits the quality of life for businesses and residents, regulatory and tax burdens are minimal, right to work laws that protect our citizens remain in place, and wages are market rate. Businesses locate and expand in areas where these factors exist.
The Chamber Supports
- Coming together to address climate change and the clean energy transition with policies that are practical, affordable, flexible, predictable, and durable.
- Legislation that would limit the liability of businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits.
- Revenue generation opportunities to offset tax losses due to COVID-19. Clarity and guidance for how the local, state and federal government and agencies spend relief funding.
- The State exercising its discretion to incentivize the resurgence of the cruise industry.
- Policies that support keeping the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa Bay.
- Recognizing community quality of life as an economic development driver.
- Legislation that strengthens Florida’s local governments and economic development.
- Adequate support for Enterprise Florida.
- The flexibility that Florida’s Home Rule powers give municipalities.
- Florida Job Growth Grant Fund as economic driver.
- Phased initiatives to reduce the tax burden on commercial real estate leases.
- Adequate support for tourism via Visit Florida and related agencies.
- Innovation Grants for company relocation or expansion to be used for:
- Office space on a college/university campus.
- Research with professors applicable to business.
- Matching dollars for Port Tampa Bay projects.
- Restoring arts and culture matching grants recommended by the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture.
Equity and inclusion drives business competitiveness, job creation, increases diverse employee populations, and promotes inclusive economic growth. The Tampa Bay Chamber is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. The core value of being a diverse and inclusive community is critical to the region’s success.
The Chamber Supports
- Bridging the digital divide.
- Advocating for policy that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion in business and lead efforts to remove barriers standing between people and opportunity.
- Convening diverse chambers and other minority business organizations to discuss policy issues and speak with a collective voice.
- Ensuring equal opportunity to career paths that lead to jobs, and workforce initiatives that create a more equitable talent marketplace and strengthen the American economy.
- Promoting diversity across all levels of business, supporting minority-owned enterprises and entrepreneurs, and making the business case for closing the racial equity gap.
- Streamlining the process of becoming a certified minority-owned enterprise.
- The Florida Chamber of Commerce's Prosperity Project.
- Community Partnership Schools, which are a priority in some of our most vulnerable communities.
- Creating pathways for non-violent ex-offenders to reenter the workforce and become productive, self-sufficient citizens.
- Regional workforce development initiatives that build diverse talent and are inclusive of groups of people that have been traditionally disenfranchised such as minority populations.
- Remediation and improvement of access to Unemployment Insurance benefits.
- Policies that enhance job flexibility for parents with open cases in the child welfare system of care.
- The facilitation of minority business growth and development.
- Funding for corporate, non-profit, and quasi government board preparedness and training for diverse candidates.
The Tampa Bay Chamber supports reducing the cost of health insurance to the business community by increasing access to quality health care for all Floridians, and legislation that gives our health care providers the infrastructure and regulatory environment needed to best serve our community.
The Chamber Supports
- Eradicating food insecurities.
- Policies to enhance access to critical health care services via telehealth, including behavioral health services.
- Mitigating the growing health disparities.
- The Florida Hospital Association’s opposition to the creation of Advanced Birth Centers in Florida.
- Transparency in health care costs.
- Preserving the Medicaid base rate.
- Increased behavioral health funding.
- Medicaid funding and expansion of eligibility criteria to address the State’s growing health insurance gap that coincides with the increase in unemployment.
The Tampa Bay Chamber enjoys a close working relationship with MacDill Air Force Base – a vital part of our nation’s defense that has a $3 billion impact on the Tampa Bay community. We understand the importance of supporting our brave men and women and their families who serve our country and call our community home. As a Great American Defense Community, we will continue to support policies and investments that strengthen the defense community in Tampa Bay.
The Chamber Supports
- Adequate transportation options for Military families in Hillsborough County, including:
- A MacDill Ferry Connection.
- Optimization of circulator routes for high density military populations in East/South Hillsborough County.
- Creating a business climate to attract the U.S. Space Force and secondary/auxiliary industries.
- Opportunities that support veteran and military spouses seeking gainful employment and pathways to entrepreneurship.
- Legislation that creates a uniform framework for recognizing service member academic credits and waives transfer of transcript fees for service members and their dependents.
Transportation is a core service of government that is critical for economic development and facilitating the efficient movement of goods, people, and services. Sufficient transportation funding of all options is needed to implement a robust and connected transportation network in Tampa Bay. We will work diligently to inform our elected officials that investments in regionally focused transit agencies are an opportunity for the expansion of resources, not replacing them at the county transit agency level.
The Chamber Supports
- Advocating for transit projects as a region.
- Efforts to continue to grow and enhance Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay.
- FDOT exemptions related to roadway shoulder use for express bus service.
- Multi-modal transit options and stations to support those options.
- Utilizing existing fixed guideways and infrastructure.
- Bringing high-speed rail and preserving sufficient Right of Way along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando for its corridor.
- Protecting the State Transportation Trust Fund.
- School route safety enhancements.
- State regulation of peer-to-peer operators including language requiring operators to enter into an agreement with airports.
- The ability of local jurisdictions to secure funding via referenda to provide adequate transit options for its citizens.
- Restoring funding for the Westshore Interchange.
- Ensure investments are made in our transportation infrastructure (airport, highways, port) for recovery of the lost gas tax and other transportation revenues.
- State funding for transit.
The business community must partner with stakeholders and policymakers to advocate for adequate resources to help recruit, develop and retain talent in Tampa Bay. Plans must be in place today to train and reemploy the workforce of tomorrow. The Chamber looks forward to supporting policy that strengthens workforce development and education and supportive access to transportation and housing.
The Chamber Supports
- Apprenticeship programs and experiential training offerings.
- Early childhood learning as a path to a competent and capable workforce.
- Bridging the digital divide.
- Associate of Science dual enrollment course offerings.
- Continued support and resources for schools related to COVID-19.
- Expansion of online learning infrastructure.
- Flexibility to implement the instructional requirements related to mental health education, substance abuse education, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and human trafficking education.
- Including industry certification and skilled training in school and district grade calculations as an additional student success measure.
- Removal of punitive laws that suspend driver’s licenses for non-payment of civil fines.
- Legislation that authorizes public schools to offer coding as a second language and colleges/universities to accept coding as a foreign language credit.
- STEM education programs, with an emphasis on starting in middle school, to strengthen equitable access to high quality workforce-related skill sets.
- System-wide funding for the University of South Florida.
- Innovation Grants for company relocation or expansion.
- Pursue state funds in support of district-identified pilot programs.
Developing a sustainable inventory of workforce housing is vital to the continued growth and success of Tampa Bay’s business economy. Our region’s economic success and continued growth over the last twenty years have resulted in rising housing costs for renters and would-be homeowners, forcing our workforce to live farther away from employment centers. Increasing the inventory of attainable housing for working families earning incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income, is critical to our region’s ability to attract and retain talent, improve quality of life, and to continue to successfully compete in the market economy.
The Chamber Supports
- Attainable housing that improves workforce satisfaction, quality of life, and ensures a vibrant, thriving community.
- Policies and budget prioritization that facilitate the development of, and access to, workforce housing.
- Waivers to activate irregular sized parcels for affordable and workforce housing.
- Legislation that prevents the Legislature from diverting the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund.
A significant goal of the Tampa Bay Chamber has been to establish Memorandums of Understanding and formal partnerships with other community partners and organizations that share our desire and vision for a united, strong voice for business in our region.
We’re proud to say that we currently have Memorandums of Understanding with the following community partners: Greater Plant City Chamber
of Commerce, Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, Indo- US Chamber of Commerce, North Tampa Bay Chamber, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, Tampa Downtown Partnership, Uptown Chamber of Commerce, Westshore Alliance, and Ybor Chamber — making up over 10,000 members.
Memorandums of Understanding with these chambers and business organizations do not necessarily reflect agreement on the legislative priorities or positions detailed within Key Votes 2022.