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Scott to Target Regs Early

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

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Jan. 3, 2011 --

Gov.-elect Rick Scott is expected to announce on Tuesday an attack on government regulations by his new administration that could include a freeze on new rule making, sources close to the incoming governor and business leaders said.

A freeze on most new regulations pending a review for their need is one of several executive orders the new governor, a former hospital executive, is expected to announce within a short time of becoming governor. He’ll be sworn in at noon on Tuesday, taking over from Gov. Charlie Crist.

Scott also may quickly call for the use by state agencies of the E-verify system for checking potential employees’ immigration status.

Scott has made no secret of his intentions to reduce regulations, talking at length and frequently about whether many state agency rules are necessary. He hinted at that again Monday evening in talking to business leaders at one of several pre-inaugural celebration events. Scott also said last week that he likely would have an executive order shortly after being sworn in, though he hasn’t released details.

Recently, Scott told attendees at a Council of 100 meeting that he plans to call for a freeze on new regulations that don’t involve health or public safety, said Barney Bishop, executive director of Associated Industries of Florida, one of the state’s major business lobbies.

Bishop said his group would welcome the move, and that Scott needs to send a signal to business that the state is going to restore a strong business climate, and is ready to make a solid effort to get its economy going again.

“I think he can start that off by talking about suspending all rule promulgation except those that are life-safety-health issues,” Bishop said. “This governor has to say the state is open to business and if you’re thinking about going into another state … we’re going to make you a deal that’s going to encourage you, incentivize you.”

Officials in the Scott transition team wouldn’t confirm that Scott will call Tuesday for the freeze, but other business sources who have talked to top Scott officials confirmed the new governor plans a quick executive order dealing with stopping new rules from going into effect

Scott has often said the state has too many rules, and doesn’t need many of them and he said Monday night that once he is in office the state will "get rid of regulations that don't work."

“This is something the business community has wanted for a long time,” said Bishop.

Sources close to the incoming governor said he also plans to quickly move on another campaign promise – to require state agencies to use the E-Verify system, a Internet based portal for checking work authorization and Homeland Security information. An executive order on that might come as early as this week, as well.

Another possible early move could be some sort of executive order dealing with transparency and open government.

In his inaugural address four years ago, Crist announced he was creating an office of open government, which he did later that same day by executive order. Crist also used his speech to announce that he would lead a trade mission to Israel.


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