May 5 marked the close of the most successful Session yet for the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) and Florida’s retail industry. More than two decades of hard work fi nally paid off with the repeal of Joint and Several Liability. This tremendous landmark victory in tort reform, which has been FRF’s highest priority, marks the end of the business community’s unwanted “deep pockets” status and returns true “fair share” responsibility to court awards. Of course we share this victory with our friends at the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the new Florida Justice Reform Institute. Our three organizations and a host of other committed associations teamed up to cause this long-awaited change. There were many other Session bright spots, too, such as the passage of three tax-free holidays. These, and our efforts on an array of other issues worth billions of dollars to the retail industry, are outlined in this Legislative Wrap-Up.
Each day of the Session, as well as throughout the year, FRF’s Team Retail was front and center advocating on your behalf. The Tallahassee starting line-up includes our FRF staff lobbyists, professional lobbyists from our member organizations, contract lobbyists hired by member fi rms and FRF, plus FRF’s committed support staff. Without this dedicated team working together, we could not have been so victorious.
Thanks are also extended to Governor Jeb Bush, Senate President Tom Lee and Speaker of the House Allan Bense. Their leadership and understanding helped shaped this business-friendly Session and their maturity and statesmanship promoted dignity within the process. We are equally appreciative of our many friends in the Legislature who took time to listen to our issues and understand the critical importance retailing holds in the economic well-being of our state.
The united front put forth by Florida’s business community went a long way, as well, to promote a healthy business environment. FRF will continue relationships in which issues linger and form new bonds as warranted. Last, I want to thank all of our members and particularly those folks who took time to join the FRF Team Retail Action Network. Timely-placed phone calls and emails to your legislators do make a difference and contribute greatly to overall outcome.
As every retailer knows, the work doesn’t stop just because a sale is made. Success is an ongoing challenge and such is the case with our legislative efforts. With four Senate and 28 House seats open, we are facing a diffi cult campaign season. You will hear from us in the coming weeks regarding different candidates. To keep the momentum going, it is critical that we elect business-friendly legislators. For details on these issues and more, please visit our Web site at www.frf.org or call me toll-free at 1.888. FL.RETAIL (357.3824).
With your help, The Voice of Florida Retailing is loud, clear, and making a signifi cant difference for all Floridians.
Richard A. McAllister
FRF President and CEO
Click to open PDF version of 2006 Legislative Wrap Up