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Gov. Rick Scott Puts all Floridians and Cruise Passengers At Risk

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Be prepared for a rise in
Resort Torts

Florida Governor Rick Scott – “one of the least popular governors in America” – has decided that state background checks are no longer necessary for port employees.

By signing bill HB283 into law, the Governor has directly increased the vulnerability of Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline to criminal activity and terrorist attacks, not least the Port of Miami, which is recognized as the “Cargo Gateway of the Americas” and the “Cruise Capital of the World” – boasting the largest passenger cruise ship port on the planet.

Considering the millions of cruise passengers who travel through Florida’s seven seaports (12.9 million between Oct. 2008 and Sept. 2009), the new bill is completely counterintuitive to The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act signed into law a year ago by President Obama. While that Act required increased safety and security measures aboard cruise ships, apparently the Governor does not have the same concern about the comings and goings at the ports.

Putting people at risk in order to cut corners and redirect a few dollars makes no sense for a state that relies on tourism as the largest sector of its economy.

The language in the bill is a virtual invitation to criminals:
• “deletes provisions relating to statewide minimum standards for seaport security”
• “deletes provisions requiring that persons seeking authorization to access secure & restricted areas of seaport execute affidavit”
• “deletes provisions requiring fingerprint-based criminal history checks

A poll last month revealed that 57% of voters disapprove of the Governor’s job performance, as reported by the Miami Herald. Along with a rise in criminal activity at the Port of Miami and all along the Florida coastline, we’re likely to see the Governor’s disapproval rating continue to rise as well.

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