The Tampa Bay Times today continued its attacks on Governor Rick Scott and completely ignored the state’s major accomplishments over the past month. The Times also neglected to provide a balanced narrative by including statements from the Governor’s Office on various issues – statements which have been shared with the Times on multiple occasions. We take this opportunity set the record straight.
Tampa Bay Times: “It raises a question: Lately under Scott, how well is Florida working?”
FACTS: We’re glad they asked. Over the past month, much like he has every day during his past seven years as Governor, Governor Scott has been hard at work for Florida families. The following are links to just some of the great things Governor Scott has accomplished recently. We encourage the Times to take a moment to be reminded of these big wins for Florida families. In addition to these accomplishments, Governor Scott also recently announced that he will be visiting Israel this month to attend the grand opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Additionally, the Times mentioned several issues in its most recent story without including comment from the Governor’s Office – even though our office has provided comment on several occasions. This unbalanced approach is unfortunate and warrants a reminder on these topics:
ON MENTAL HEALTH BACKGROUND SCREENINGS…
“During the 2018 Legislative Session, and following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Governor Scott fought tirelessly to develop a comprehensive plan of action so this never happens again. The Governor’s major action plan, which led to the passage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (SB 7026) addressed three critical issues: making our schools safer, giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those seeking to harm themselves or others, and providing key funding for mental health services in Florida’s communities.
“The Clerks of Court in Florida are locally elected and Governor Scott expects them to prioritize their resources to resolve this issue as required by state law. FDLE will continue to identify additional grants and resources to provide even more assistance to the clerks as the Department works to keep Floridians safe.” – McKinley Lewis, Governor Scott’s Press Office
ON DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE PERSONNEL MOVES…
“The Governor’s Office has absolutely no involvement in the hiring, or firing, of these individuals. The Department of Revenue makes personnel decisions for their agency. It’s no surprise that a state agency would seek to hire highly qualified individuals with experience in state policy and state budget development and experience working with the Florida Legislature.” – McKinley Lewis, Governor Scott’s Press Office
ON FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FUNDING…
“Over the past three years, more than $124 million has been invested in the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to provide pay increases to recruit and retain correctional officers, improve facilities and fleet, better serve inmates with medical and mental health needs and expand reentry programming. This year, in his Securing Florida’s Future recommended budget, Governor Scott sought to build on these investments with a nearly $169 million increase in funding for FDC.
“The annual budget the Florida Legislature passed this year was lower than the Governor’s recommended budget which has resulted in these temporary funding shortfalls. Governor Scott is confident that Secretary Jones will work with her stakeholders, and members of the legislature, to ensure that this issue is temporary, resolved quickly and handled appropriately. Safety and security remain the Department’s top priority.” – McKinley Lewis, Governor Scott’s Press Office
Additionally, the Governor’s Office confirmed to the Times that Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera personally advocated for this issue to the legislature in meetings with members. He also visited the Senate Chamber.
FROM AHCA ON MEDICAID RETROACTIVE ELIGIBILITY…
“Florida continues to focus on quickly enrolling Florida’s most vulnerable people including children, frail elders, those with disabilities and pregnant women. By enrolling individuals quickly, you ensure better-coordinated fully integrated care, as well as access to preventative services.
“It is categorically false to assert that this change impacts the care of children, seniors or vulnerable Floridians. Claims that patient care and services will be jeopardized are false. Florida’s Medicaid program is operating at the highest level of quality care in its history.”– Mallory McManus, AHCA Communications Director