[UPDATE] Challenging the Rick Scott Rule Freeze

By: The News Service of Florida, Troy Kinsey
By: The News Service of Florida, Troy Kinsey

[UPDATE] Tallahassee -- June 30, 2011

Rick Scott campaigned for Florida governor to get government out of the way of doing business.

Scott has frozen hundreds of regulations, a move his critics say is unconstitutional, and now, they're taking him to court.

"So help me God...so help me God."

It wasn't long after uttering those words back in January...Governor Scott 'got to work'.

His first official act, freezing 900 rules and regulations on the verge of taking effect.

From cracking down on pain clinics to putting food stamp applications online, everything Tallahassee was about to do, didn't happen.

"All rise!"

Now, the governor's being sued over the move, which critics call unconstitutional.

Scott's attorney, Charles Trippe says:

"As he comes into office, taking over from another administration, with this vast administrative machinery, to exercise his constitutional duty and power, he has to be able to say, 'please let me stop and review this'. "

In signing his executive order,Scott effectively declared war on dozens of interest groups, and he outcome here could have a monumental impact on his pro-business agenda.

One of the rules Scott put on hold would have made it more difficult for bottled water companies to tap Florida's springs.

Eric Draper with Audubon of Florida worries if it's not put into effect, water levels could drop and make the formation of sinkholes more likely.

"If you're only looking at the immediate economic issue and you're saying, 'well, go ahead, developer, take as much water as you want, or farmer, take as much water as you want', then what about the poor citizens that have to worry about whether or not their houses are going to fall into a sinkhole? "

Ultimately, their only recourse may be to head back to the polls in 2014.

After all, Scott was elected governor to make decisions that may be controversial, and in this case, may be completely legal.

The high court is expected to rule on the case sometime in the coming days and weeks.

The lawsuit was brought by a Miami woman who complained Scott's freeze prevented her from applying for food stamps online.


Tallahassee, Florida - June 29, 2011 -

A lawsuit filed against Gov. Rick Scott in March that accuses him of overstepping his constitutional authority by suspending rule-making by state agencies was heard Wednesday morning by the Florida Supreme Court. In Whiley v. Scott, a blind woman named Rosalie Whiley says the governor is usurping a power granted to the Legislature to grant rule-making authority to state agencies. Attorney Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte told the Florida Supreme Court that Scott’s executive order suspending rule-making and establishing a new office to oversee rules conflicts with a law established by the Legislature that determines how rules are made by state agencies. “We are not here on a rule challenge,” D’Alemberte said. “We are here on questions of the governor’s authority to issue executive orders that conflict with procedures set forth by Legislature.” But Charles Trippe, the governor’s attorney, said Scott has the constitutional authority to oversee rule-making and contends the executive order does not interfere with the Legislature’s authority. “The governor’s power and duty is provided directly by the constitution,” Trippe said. Justices peppered both attorneys with questions on this issue, made more complex by a new state law (HB 993) that also changes how administrative rules are made and adopted. “The issue is ‘Can the governor stop rule-making authority, or if by doing that is he acting outside executive branch role and encroaching on the legislative branch?” said Supreme Court Justice Barbara J. Pariente. But Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady appeared to see things differently. “We are talking about administrative rule making,” Canady said. “Law making is a legislative function and the parameters for administrative rule-making is satisfied by the Legislature. Who promulgates the rules? It is the executive branch.” The court adjourned after nearly an hour of arguments.

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  • by The Time Has come, to say fair's fair on Jun 30, 2011 at 01:28 PM
    Anytime I see Scott on Tv,it always hit me that he looks like the lead singer for Midnight Oil
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 30, 2011 at 08:07 PM in reply to The Time Has come, to say fair's fair
      Yep I remember that group, youtube the video "Beds are Burning"
  • by Janis Location: Ocala on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM
    This zealot of a governor has no right to interfere in or overrule the duties agencies are tasked with; he has no right to micromanage their day-to-day functions. The sun does NOT rise and set according to Scott's fiat! Nor can he act retroactively to change legislation. There will be many more lawsuits challenging this guy's misguided misteps! What a wast of this state's resources. Reminds me of the arrogant mistakes of Emperor Jeb. What a pox he was on all in Florida. Rick's gotta go!
  • by LegalWatcher Location: TLH on Jun 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM
    The government is not a business and cannot be operated like a business. When are people going to get that through their heads. We have things called a State Constitution, and a State Legislature and a State Judiciary. Each one has its powers, and one cannot substitute for another.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 30, 2011 at 12:14 PM in reply to LegalWatcher
      Not to mention that a business has a goal to make a profit. The government should never make a profit because if it does then it means it is collecting too much in taxes. The government's goal is the welfare of the people. Those two goals are so wildly different that it should be obvious that they cannot be run the same way.
  • by Jethro Location: Capital City, Florida on Jun 30, 2011 at 08:23 AM
    Yes indeed! Mr. Scott you have been 'bad!' Bad Governor! Mr. Talbot D'Alemberte makes a better argument, than does the attorney for Mr. Scott. The legislature doesn't make "suggestions" it makes "law!" Word!
  • by Buddy Garity Location: tlh on Jun 30, 2011 at 08:11 AM
    Even a Villages idiot knows he is going to win this suit. There is no such thing as separation of powers because the three branches are all afraid to tell each other no.
  • by Artichoke on Jun 30, 2011 at 07:05 AM
    Assembling more power unto himself, the governor plans on being able to protect Florida businesses from having to comply with such outrageous rules as paying their taxes. Do your job gov, and collect the millions in back taxes owed by businesses across the state. That is a rule we could all support.
  • by Jay Location: Over Round Home on Jun 30, 2011 at 04:48 AM
    Blaming Charlie now that's funny. Cause the Florida republican leadership (90's til present)has brought us to this point in time. This proves without doubt too many years in power makes for really bad public policy. Same old same old will not work or else we would have jobs overflow instead of double digit unemployment. Cheap labor, privatization of public service contracts and tax breaks to wealthy have got us right here right now. So now tell me you want to do it again and the governor is good for Florida and its Charlie's fault...I am laughing. NASCAR drivers should consider their reputation and remember you are the company you keep, Gov. Scott has a bad reputation with Floridians and its rubbing off on the state's republican party. You go ricky boy, I am loving every minute of it.
    • reply
      by Thom on Jun 30, 2011 at 06:11 AM in reply to Jay
      Amen! It is be wildering how the Rupublican Party has been in power in Florida since 1994 (reminder: there is a difference between state and federal government), and yet the current mess is only the fault of Democrats and others who happen to have a different perspective from the Republican/Tea Party.
  • by Odd on Jun 29, 2011 at 04:39 PM
    Actually you can thank Charlie Crist for the budget problems that Florida is having . Not Rick Scott!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 29, 2011 at 07:40 PM in reply to Odd
      OK, What did Crist do to make the Budget problems? The problem is the increased medicare/medicaid payments that the State has to pay. These payment are increasingly taking money away from other programs. This is how they can make 4 Billion in cuts, and pass a budget that is actually only 1.5(about) billion less than last year. The cuts were to accommodate the increased medicare\medicaid payments.
    • reply
      by wow on Jun 30, 2011 at 10:22 AM in reply to Odd
  • by James T. Kirk Location: Enterprise, NCC1701 on Jun 29, 2011 at 04:09 PM
    Mr. Scott!!! We need more power!!!
    • reply
      by Mr. Scott on Jun 30, 2011 at 05:08 AM in reply to James T. Kirk
      I'm Given er all she's got Captain!
      • reply
        by Spock on Jun 30, 2011 at 07:38 AM in reply to Mr. Scott
        I think logic dictates that the smoke coming from the ward drive may be from a fire.
        • reply
          by Mr Sulu on Jun 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM in reply to Spock
          Captain, it is becomming difficult for us to navigate to the location we need to be as we are too close to the extreme gravitation pull from that nearby black hole on the right side sucking everything into to itself.
    • reply
      by Bones on Jun 30, 2011 at 01:30 PM in reply to James T. Kirk
      He's dead, Jim.
  • by Oddball on Jun 29, 2011 at 03:57 PM
    Gov. Scott is trying to clean up a finical mess as well as many other messes that Charlie Crist left after his last year in office. He and the house and Senate was not running the State of Florida, it was the unions and the other groups that Charlie was listing to and was allowing the spending to go on . Now the Rick Scott has taken office, the and legislative branches is cleaning up the disasters of the last 4 years,and the Unions and other groups that had Charlie in there control , well that is not happening with Gov Scott. The unions that want to stop the 3% deduction for the pensions could take the State of Florida the Very same road that Wisconsin took back in January and Feb of this year. But it could be worse and maybe a lot longer... It will be a wild ride if it does happen.
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