Press Release

    Orlando Regional Lawmakers Recognized as “2021 Outstanding Legislators of the Year”

    The lawmakers are honored for their significant contributions to legislation and policy efforts that advance Broad-based Prosperity™

    The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) recognizes 11 members of the Central Florida Delegation as “2021 Outstanding Legislators of the Year” for their voting and sponsorship record of legislation and policies that advance Broad-based Prosperity™ during Florida’s 2021 State Legislative Session.

    The following legislators received the honor for their significant contributions toward advancing the Partnership’s 2021 Policy Priorities, which include economic recovery, transportation, affordable housing, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and workforce education: 

    2021 Outstanding Legislators of the Year

    State Senators: 

    State Representatives: 

    “This session brought on unique challenges that needed to be addressed. The COVID-19 pandemic put never-before-seen pressure on our businesses small and large, the tourism industry, and our workforce. That’s why we’re honoring the legislators who focused on economic recovery efforts,” said Partnership President and CEO Tim Giuliani.

    “We thank these members of the Central Florida Delegation for helping to ensure businesses keep their doors open and for prioritizing opportunities to protect and create jobs.”  

    Tim Giuliani, Partnership President & CEO

    A nonpartisan 501(c)(6) organization, the Partnership advocates for the Orlando region’s legislative priorities and does not endorse or oppose candidates for office. 

    On the first day of session and in the middle of session, Partnership Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Sharon Smoley advised members of the Central Florida delegation that their legislative performance will be evaluated based on their efforts to pass meaningful legislation that addresses the critical priorities of the Orlando Region. The first year of this performance evaluation initiative recognizes members as “Outstanding Legislators.” In future years, detailed scoring will be published in addition to recognition. 

    “The first bill Governor DeSantis signed into law, COVID-19 Liability Protection, was one of the Partnership’s top priorities. We applaud the members who supported this important legislation to help small businesses avoid frivolous lawsuits brought on from them keeping workers employed and customers served during the pandemic,” Smoley said.

    Throughout previous Florida State Legislative Sessions, bills were filed to update antiquated laws around policing and use-of-force. With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts a major priority, the Partnership strongly supported legislation related to police reform and recognizes Senator Randolph Bracy as the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion” for his work to advance DEI during the 2021 State Legislative Session.

    “We thank the legislature for adopting policy that will help implement needed changes to policing across the state.”

    Linda Landman Gonzalez, Orlando Magic Vice President Community Relations and Government Affairs, President Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and Partnership Policy Council Chair

    “We applaud our own Senator Randolph Bracy for leading on these issues over the years and continuing to lead the charge in this respect,” said Orlando Magic Vice President Community Relations and Government Affairs, President Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and Partnership Policy Council Chair Linda Landman Gonzalez.

    While the 2021 Florida State Legislative Session saw numerous successes for Orlando regional legislative priorities, work remains including the reinstatement of the Qualified Target Industry Program, which is critical to regional business development efforts, as well as protecting the Affordable Housing Trust Fund as originally intended. The Partnership looks forward to continuing to work with the state legislature on these issues in the 2022 State Legislative Session and beyond. 

    Below is a list of the specific bills the Partnership supported and opposed: 

    ECONOMIC RECOVERY​ 

    Support:​ 

    • Tax Refund for QTI Businesses: SB 982 by Sen. Gruters &HB 6071 by Rep. LaMarca​ 
    • Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19: SB 72 by Sen. Brandes & HB 7 by Rep. McClure​Civil Liability for COVID-19-related Claims Against Certain Health Care Providers: SB 74 by Sen. Brandes & HB 7005 by Health & Human Services, Rep. Burton
    • Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program: SB 704 by Gruters & HB 757 by Rep. Joseph​ 
    • Tax Credits/Intellectual Property: SB 1390 by Sen. Gruters & HB 1125 by Rep. Fischer*​ 

    Opposed: ​ 

    • Confidentiality of Economic Development Agreement Information: HB 1125 by Rep. Eskamani*​ 
    • Combined Reporting: HB 999 by Rep. Hawkins*​ 

     TRANSPORTATION​ 

    Support:​ 

    • Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: SB 138 by Sen. Brandes & HB 817 by Rep. Plasencia & Rep. Toledo 

     DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION​ 

    Support:​ 

    • Expunction of Criminal History Records; Cannabis Offenses: SB 468 by Sen. Bracy & HB 189 by Rep. McCurdy ​ 
    • Chief Diversity Officer: SB 180 by Sen. Berman & HB 275 by Rep. Davis​ 
    • Juror Service: SB 442 by Sen. Bracy & HB 739 by Rep. Arrington​ 
    • Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Practices/Juvenile Justice: HB 7051 by Judiciary Committee &SB 626 by Sen. Bracy*​ 
    • Law Enforcement Officer Use of Force Deaths: SB 462 by Sen. Bracy*​ 
    • Citizen Review Boards: SB 446 & SB 450 by Sen. Bracy* 

     AFFORDABLE HOUSING​ 

    Support:​ 

    • State Housing Trust Fund: SB 510 by Sen. Hooper & HB 13 by Rep. Killebrew​ 

    ​ WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT​ 

    Support:​ 

    • Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship Programs: SB 508 by Sen. Brandes & HB 175 by Rep. Shoaf​ 
    • Vocational Pathways: SB 1042 by Sen. Brodeur & HB 791 by Rep. Harding 

    *Bills added during session that were not included in formal letter communication to members 

    For more information on the 2021 Outstanding Legislators of the Year or the Partnership’s Policy Priorities, please contact Laureen.Martinez@Orlando.org or at 407-242-3982.