[UPDATE] Scott Freezes Fla. Rule-Making, Contracts

By: David Royse, The News Service of Florida; AP
By: David Royse, The News Service of Florida; AP

[UPDATE] 1-5 9:00AM --

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Jan. 4, 2011…..State agencies are prohibited from making new rules without the approval of a new governor’s office on regulations that will also go back over every state contract over $1 million, under an executive order signed by Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday shortly after he took office.

Scott had promised to freeze regulations, saying he heard repeatedly on the campaign trail last year that rules, permitting requirements and bureaucracy were the biggest impediment to Florida employers.

In his inaugural speech on Tuesday, Scott again promised to eliminate red tape, calling regulation, along with taxation and litigation, the “axis of unemployment.”

Also Tuesday, Scott signed another executive order making good on a campaign promise, requiring
state agencies when making new hires to use the E-Verify system, a federal Internet based portal for checking work authorization and Homeland Security information.

That order also requires agencies to include in all state contracts a requirement that contractors and subcontractors also use E-Verify to check anyone employed during the contract term to work on state-related work. Scott also ran on a promise to try to tackle what he said is a lack of enforcement of federal immigration laws, and argued that state government can help by promising not to employ undocumented immigrants.

Scott’s creation of the state Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform was his first official act as governor. He named former Charlie Crist budget staffer Jerry McDaniel to head up the office. In addition to reviewing any regulations before an agency can implement them, the office will also review all existing big contracts.

“I believe Floridians have a right to know where their money is being spent,” Scott said after signing the order.

Scott also signed an executive order re-establishing the Office of Open Government, which was created by Crist, and putting in a place the executive branch’s ethics code, which Scott said would be stronger than the current rules. Scott also ordered a “Special Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer” to review a recent grand jury report on corruption in politics and government to recommend how some of the grand jury’s recommendations might be put in place.

Finally, Scott signed a fourth executive order reaffirming the state’s prohibition on discrimination in hiring and contracting.

But the freeze on regulation was the boldest move, aimed at helping Scott encourage businesses to hire new workers – part of a promise to put 100,000 people a year back to work.

“While there are some regulations that are essential for health and safety, and others that are essential to the protection of our priceless environment, it's past time to demand that every regulation be re-evaluated,” Scott had said in his inaugural speech shortly before signing the order. “We will conduct a top to bottom review of all state regulations and weed out unnecessary ones that hinder job creation.”



Florida Gov. Rick Scott got to work within minutes of assuming office.

The multimillionaire Republican signed executive orders Tuesday, Jan. 4, freezing rule-making and contracts of more than $1 million as well as ordering state agencies to use the federal E-Verify system to
determine if current or prospective employees are illegal

Scott, whose campaign slogan was "Let's get to work," signed a
total of four executive orders before lunch after taking the oath
of office at noon.

One of the orders adopts a tougher ethics code and reaffirms
Scott's commitment to maintaining an office of open government.

Another reaffirms a ban on hiring discrimination based on race,
gender, creed, color or national origin.

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