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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Gov. Crist Signing Workers’ Compensation Bill (HB 903)

May 29, 2009

“Protecting a workers’ compensation system that was working for Florida was among the business community’s top priorities this legislative session.  Associated Industries of Florida applauds Gov. Charlie Crist for signing HB 903, which will keep workers’ compensation premiums affordable for Florida business and safeguard the system from reaching the crisis point it did several years ago as a result of unbridled litigation. 

In signing this bill today, Gov. Crist demonstrated his commitment to restoring Florida’s economic prosperity – a commitment that took courage to stand against those that urged him to veto this bill.

Today, the original intent of the Legislature and the landmark workers’ compensation reforms passed in 2003 were restored.  Etched into law is a self-executing system that provides injured workers with the benefits they need and allows employers to locate and afford coverage to protect their most valuable assets, their employees.

Without this legislation, businesses faced ongoing double digit increases in their workers’ comp premiums.  This law guarantees that those rate hikes will not only stop, but even reverse.  During these uncertain economic times, that kind of savings plays a critical role in shielding and creating Florida jobs.  

We also commend the outstanding efforts of both Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples) and Rep. Anitere Flores (R-Miami), who were tireless champions for this issue during the legislative session.”