In a very close election, Republican Rick Scott, a virtual unknown who received heavy Tea Party support, has been elected as the new governor. Scott, a multimillionaire with a background in health care administration, has lived in Florida for seven years. He was heavily criticized during his campaign by Democratic opponent Alex Sink due to his health care company’s participation in numerous Medicare regulatory violations, for which the company was forced to repay the government hefty amounts.
Florida also contributed to the significant gains that Republicans made in Congress. Marco Rubio was elected to the Senate, replacing Mel Martinez, who did not run for reelection. Florida’s current governor, Charlie Crist, ran against Rubio and was soundly defeated, as was the Democratic candidate. Rubio is a state legislator from South Florida who has never held statewide office.
From an HR standpoint, the new Republican governor is expected to continue supporting Florida’s lawsuit against President Obama’s health care reform plan, which is moving forward in a Pensacola federal court. With a GOP governor and legislature, we don’t anticipate passage of additional employment laws in the coming year. Thomas Harper is editor of Florida Employment Law Letter and a partner with Harper Gerlach PL in Jacksonville. He can be reached at (904) 296-7000.