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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  March 3, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EST

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center in ohio were we have an electronics engineer, a software engineer, in addition to other engineers. we are in the process of hiring and other electrical engineer. but i am having my staff go through and have a full assessment of the department, and we will deploy resources to make sure we buttress a stronger nhtsa. >> the camera -- camry solara and es300, and uia stands for unintended acceleration, basically, what you see is that in model year 2002, they added electronic throttle control. you can see the numbers, what they do. there may be other factors in that, but i am glad you are looking at it, and as you look at it, i would hope that you focus on the electronics product control and other parts of the system that makes sense --
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electronic throttle control and other parts of the system that make sense. >> that is a priority. the secretary has also already laid out plans for nhtsa to do a comprehensive review in the automotive industry. we are not only going to look at toyota. we will be looking at every manufacturer, because this is a system that has gone through the entire united states fleet. >> on the second chart, these are state farm numbers. unintended acceleration claims. you can see thatñi the numbers e different. every time they add electronic çótroubleñr control, with two models,]iñ camry and corolla, yu see a spike. does nhtsa have comprehensive
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in other words, some of these numbers are from state farm, some are from customer questionnaires. do you have the data that you need? >> about three weeks ago, nhtsa issued three query's -- queries to toyota. part of it is an overall query for all sudden acceleration incidents. we have an incredibly large and rich amount of data to go through to figure this out. but in addition to that, we took at the data when we saw -- we took a look at the data in 2004. we got early warning data coming in, and nhtsa opened investigations.
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the standard we have to follow to get our case in courtxd is we have to find a vehicle defect that creates an unreasonable risk in safety. if we can not find that defect, we cannot go forward. we will lose the case in course. -- in court. those incidents are where a full investigation was done, top to bottom, and they were not able to find a defect. they took a look at the electronic throttle control system in 2004, did a larger inquiry in 2007, and were not able to find a defect. >> the last question i have for you is that some of the senators have alluded to press reports, whether it be abc, cbs, whoever. i do not remember who reported on this. there is an allegation, or at least an inference, that there
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is a relationship between nhtsa and manufacturers that is too cozy. i do not know if that is true or not. but you are the new administrator there, and most of the stuff happened before you got there. do you have concerns that the relationship between nhtsa and the manufacturers is too cozy? i understand you need a close working relationship, that that is important to do your job and make the roads safer and keep vehicles safer. but do you have a concern that this relationship is too close? >> my responsibility is to run the department with the highest level of ethics possible. i do not want anybody running balls at -- running of the halls at -- running the halls at nhtsa other than my employees. i will respond in more detail on the record, but the claims that
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toyota made about negotiations or influenced is false. that is like me claiming that i was responsible for the sun rising today. absolutely false. and nhtsa's people did independent work and investigations, and that document absolutely has no foundation. >> thank you, senator pryor. >> mr. administrator, let me ask you this. there are questions about the vehicles that you investigated, and again, i think you have said that full investigation top to bottom happened. ok. so where were these vehicles manufactured? with a manufactured here in the united states, or in some -- were they manufactured here in the united states, or in some other location?
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these specific vehicles. at these specific toyota vehicles. >> i do not know where specifically. a significant number of camrys are manufactured in the united states, but i have to get back to you on the absolute country of assemblage. >> please do. is that important in your investigation? if you see all of the vehicles are coming from one location, would you go whoa, the lightbulb just went off? >> i think you are alluding to fort-firestone, where there was one plant in particular that produced the tires that have to tread where separation issue. we take everything into account, the place of manufacture. if there is a trend, we will find it. for example, the sticky pedal recall was linked to indiana.
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they used two manufacturers. the other was in japan. my understanding was that we did not see the same issues and that japan pedal as the u.s. pedal. so we absolutely take into account all manufacturing inputs, whatever the problem is. >> ok. now tell me, this full investigation, top to bottom, tell me what that would entail. walk me through what you mean by that kind of investigation. do you look at the car itself? >> in some situations, there are several steps in the process. from a preliminary investigation all the way to an engineering analysis. but in the typical investor toward process, we send an investigator to the complaint tends -- complaintant to review their car. if it is electronic, we will take a look at those particular
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assemblages. we will take a look at the map, we will take a look at whether there is a surge, and they go through to eliminate any and all possible causes. if we find a defect, that is where we take action at that point. if there is a risk, we go further with the recall request. >> ok. but when you send them to look at these things, do they fly out their computers and everything else? what are you seeing? >> it depends on but -- on the type of car. in 2004 and 2007 -- 2004 was a smaller look, 2007 was a larger look at electronic throttle control. in either case, if the investigator goes through the list and finds a defect that had been made aware from a prior recall, that is what they will fly. at the end of the day, in terms
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of how the investigator goes through this process, it is confined to the defect. if we do not find it does affect -- a defect, that is when we go forward. >> there is an investigation, and then there is an investigation. when you say full investigation, top to bottom, the image to create for me is that there are computers hooked up to this car, they are testing this and that, the next thing, the car is taken apart, i could go to the shop floor and there are parts everywhere. that is not happening, is it? >> i think the consumer would not be happy if my investigator took apart the car. but in situations where there is a need to take a look at on board diagnostics, investigators bring those tools with them. they also look at the assemblages and drive the car, seeking to replicate the problem. that is what i mean by top to bottom.
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if something warrants something broader, nhtsa will do that, as we did in 2004 and 2007. and what we will be doing in undertaking the full review for emi in days coming. >> let's confine ourselves to the instances were something tragic happened, where somebody died. i would like to know what the investigation was. i am not asking you to tear open all the files of your agency, but what i am trying to get to, because we could add 50 more people, if we could add 500 more people, but if the investigation is not getting us there to what is going on here, it will not make any difference. the second thing, because i am out of time already, is this. i do want to know where this all comes from. i am as free trade as anybody here. but i will tell you, the
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american consumer is getting tired of this kind of thing. if the problem is that we're getting substandard products from some other part of the world. what i am also extremely tired of his the -- is the treatment we get versus how we handle these things. our borders get shot, their borders keep coming -- our bordersgé d shut, their borders stay open. i will tell you, i have worked with this country before, and i think they have some responsibility here. >> sir, let me just say, the comments from your opening statement struck me. i am going to japan. i talked to the japanese ambassador to the united states on a couple of occasions about this, and i wish i would have the insight -- i think it is
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something that we need to raise. i am going to raise it with the japanese ambassador to the united states, and i am going to raise it when i go to japan. i think it is a point well made, and one that we should be making when it comes to automobiles. >> mr. chairman, we are out of time here, and i appreciate it, but i hope you do. what they have done to us in an area that i'm concerned about, in my personal opinion, is outrageous. andçóñi yet they want us to cone to buy their products. again, i am a free trade sort of guy. fair trade. i h
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> are you ready, sir? >> when you're ready. >> members of the legislature, ladies and gentlemen, fellow floridians, it is my privilege and high honor to introduce you to the governor of the great state of florida, governor charlie crist. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you. it's wonderful. thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you.
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thank you. thank you all. thank you. thank you very much. thank you very much. thank all of you. good evening, mr. president, mr. speaker, lieutenant governor, madam chief justice, justices of the court, members of my cabinet, your cabinet, honored guests, members of the house, members of the senate, and most importantly our fellow floridians, good evening to you all. i would like to take a moment and acknowledge the woman i fell in love with as your governor, my carol, the first lady of florida. i love you sweetheart. [applause] [applause]
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>> my mother and father are here tonight also. dr. charles and nancy crist. mom and dad, please stand. i love you so much. [applause] and i have threesters, frank. do them all at once. won't belabor this. margaret, elizabeth and kathy, i love you all so much. would you please stand please. love you [applause] this evening, more than 3,000 members of the florida national guard are proudly serving our country in iraq, kuwait, afghanistan, and elsewhere.
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my friends, not since allied troops trained on florida's shores nearly 70 years ago have so many floridians fought to protect our freedoms. on behalf of these thousands of floridians, please welcome two members of our standing florida national guard. with us tonight, is sergeant michael makai. while serving in afghanistan, his determination and self-less service were vital in the detachment's success. in addition to insuring minimum down time for sentinel air defense radar, he volunteered his time, assisting the medical team when a high number of casualties were brought in. would you please stand, sir. [applause]
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also, with us tonight, is staff sergeant paul ligman a west point graduate, who's military career has spanned four decades. one month ago today, after a training exercise in preparation for his detachment's deployment to afghanistan, a bus carrying soldiers overturned in clay county. staff sergeant likman swiftly rescued several soldiers in spite of his own injuries. minimizing injury and loss during this unexpected event. sergeant makay, and staff sergeant likman. thank you for your great service to this great country of ours. god bless you both. [applause]
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tonight i also want to recognize the generous outpouring from floridians towards our neighbors in haiti. in the wake of january's devastating earthquake, florida immediately extended a helping hand. with us tonight is a child protective investigator for the department of children and families, born in haiti, fluent in creole, he was one of many who provided comfort to those arriving at the sanford international airport. much to his surprise, his own aunt walked off a plane and into his arms answering the questions he and his family had about her very safety. welcome to night, mr. val danberville. [applause]
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val represents the many caring floridians that welcomed more than 25,000 haitian americans, haitian or fans and severely wounded evacuees who fled the destruction. critically injured florida's doctors and hospitals stepped up to save lives, treating all those in need. thank interim director dave halstead and all the professionals at emergency management and florida national guard under the able direction of the adjutant-general, major general douglas burnett and secretary george sheldon and his wonderful team at the department of children and families. [applause]
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my friends, gathered here tonight are some of florida most dedicated public servants, all of you. all of you rank among the best and the brightest minds that our state has to offer. on behalf of the tens of thousands of florida employers, thank you for taking very swift action to help our economy on this opening day of the 2010 legislative session. your commitment to delay a significant increase in the unemployment compensation tax has provided needed relief to florida businesses at a time they need it most. i signed this legislation 10 minutes before i came in here today. thank you for doing the right thing. god bless you. [applause] thank you.
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we sent a resounding message to the people and businesses of florida. job retention and creation is our number one goal. i salute you, and i encourage you to relish the day and what you did today. the enthusiasm you feel will prove to be a useful and precious resource during the next 59 days. for me, this is a bittersweet day as this is my last state of the state address as your governor. i have immensely enjoyed working with you and most importantly working for the people of florida as their governor. there's no greater calling than to serve our fellow man especially during difficult times. and i have been grateful for each and every day during the past three years. i will never forget my time as governor, nor the kindness and unselfishness of those i have served alongside. for floridians, these are also bittersweet days. we face trying times but we
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must never forget that the promise of florida still burns brightly. when the rest of the country shivers, we bask in the warmth of our winter sun. people from around the globe are drawn to our white sandy beaches, and the endless vista of the beautiful everglades with rivers and water as clear as the air above them. when they seek the fulfillment of the american dream, they see our cities pulsing with the energy of new ideas spoken in a dozen different languages. these things have been, and my friends, will always be, the fundamental promise of florida. but in the last few years the promise of bright horizons has been marred by dark clouds. the worst recession in generations brought us more than our fair share of strife. businesses have buckled. people have lost jobs and the abundance of financial security that we all took for granted just a few years ago seems a distant memory.
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but i tell you, this recession, as bad as it has been, will also be a distant memory one day. i understand that we still face tough times ahead but the promise of our florida remains strong and with your help we can make that promise even stronger. after stalling last year, florida's population is once again growing. the university of florida predicts that our state will grow by 300,000 people each year for the next five years. single-family home sales in 2009 exceeded sales in 2007. and amazingly are above the historic average and beginning in 2011 we anticipate most job sectors will once again grow. we should be mindful that difficulty times reveal enormous opportunities. some of florida's greatest corporate citizens were started in financial downturns. burger king, disney world,
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publix. like these great organizations, florida can use this opportunity to gain ground on our competition. states like california and new york in drawing businesses and talent to our state. the adversity we have faced reveals the character of our people. the character of our people and it makes us stronger. shakespeare noted with more than a little irony, that quote, when the sea was calm, all boats alike showed mastership in floating. today, we face a far more difficult test and we'll be judged by the mastership we show while the sea roils around us. i have a fishing boat that i named freedom and in it i have spent many wonderful days on our beautiful gulf and my beloved tampa bay. i know from experience that storms often come from nowhere. what begins as a tiny shift in the wind can in a matter
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of men's be a squall that sends waves crashing over the gun whale. the real test of a captain is how he guides the boat through the fury of a storm. to bring the ship of our florida safely back to harbor requires action, not rhetoric. it requires knowledge, not conjecture and it requires composure under pressure that believes in the a fair shore somewhere beyond the dark clouds and a belief we will return home safely. during this session, you will debate hundreds of issues important to many floridians. it is not only the substance of those issues that are important, it is also the attitude with which you address them. these will determine whether you have done your job well for the people of florida. whether you are a good captain in a storm. in our first year, we guarded, we guided our state through the storm of skyrocketing property taxes and property insurance.
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we worked together to enact meaningful property insurance reform and the largest tax cut in the history of florida. thank you for helping us get this done. [applause] you did that. three years later, floridians are better off because of those insurance reforms and the diligence of insurance commissioner kevin mccarty through his rejection of unjustified insurance premium hikes. through these actions, property insurance premiums are lower today than they were in january 2007. property owners were seeing double-digit percentage increases in taxes levied prior to the beginning of my administration. now they have seen significant decreases over the past three years. due to these tax cuts, and lower values 2009 property taxes were almost $3 billion
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below 2007 property taxes. senator thad altman, we agree that does indeed qualify as dropping like a rock. [applause] we must continue to be problem solvers. we were not given the privilege of serving the good people of florida to simply make grand pronouncements. we were given the privilege to serve so that we can change the everyday lives of ordinary floridians and make them better. during these very difficult economic times we do a disservice to the people who elected us, the people who are counting on us to elevate ideology over problem-solving. we are here to guide our ship through a storm. we are here to lead this state to that fairer shore. how can we be problem-solvers? by embracing our core principles, and having the wisdom to separate the trivial from the meaningful.
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and i am confident of my core principles and what is meaningful to me and to the people of florida. i believe government should be smaller, not larger. and that we can envision a day when government can be half as large and twice as effective. government must live within its means or it will destroy our future. [applause] i believe taxes should be lower, not higher. i believe in freedom, knowing that with wit comes the duty of personal responsibility. government has a legitimate role in protecting the most vulnerable among us and where government is needed, it should be efficient and make a real difference. well there is great virtue being true to your principles, conviction must be tempered with practicality and pragmatism. taken to an extreme, conviction becomes inflexible, even destructive.
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extreme views rarely solve problems and frequently can create them. look around the globe. can't we agree our world would be better with less overheated rhetoric and more common sense? [applause] my friends, you should know, that our practical solutions will serve only to further inflame extremists. take heart, know that it is we problem-solvers and not they, they who will move our florida forward. we must accept being in the arena, means enduring the hecklers in the cheap seats, where conviction abounds but wisdom is not required. nothing is either risked nor gained. problem-solvers recognize that important achievements often require consensus and consensus sometimes requires concession. there are times we must hold loosely to our cherished con
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seats, in the interest of meaningful change. we also must recognize the consensus often means, all parties walk away feeling vaguely dissatisfied. some of america's greatest achievements resulted from this principle. as you may recall, from your history lessons in 1789 enormous controversy endangered the ratification of the first united states constitution. the entire future of our young country dangled by a thread. antifederalists, some of them founding fathers, argued that our constitution failed to protect individual liberty. so james madison proposed 10 amendments, known today as our bill of rights, to make clear the sanctity of the individual. these amendments allowed ratification of the constitution, completing the framework that is the underpinning of our entire history and our great nation. allow me to offer a modern example of where consensus
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could benefit the people of florida. the seminole gaming compact. this compact, should you approve it, potentially raises billions of dollars for the practical purpose of educating florida's children. some of you oppose it because you find gambling distasteful. on a personal level you should know i'm not a big fan of gambling either. it holds no real intrigue for me. and much like the legislative process itself, over the long run, only a fool would bet against the house. president atwater, i feel exactly the same about the senate. nevertheless, i recognize that some times my personal biases have to give way to a broader and more important reality. so i consider these facts. i was elected to serve the people of florida. not to impose upon them my personal likes and dislikes. the people of florida very much need the money that this compact can provide for critically important services.
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it can be used to improve their lives in profound ways, including educating our schoolchildren. whether we approve this compact or not, it does not alter the reality that the seminoles are currently running a number of casinos in florida and in fact, have been running gaming operations for decades. and to date, the citizens of florida have received no direct financial benefit from their operations. so, given the fact that florida desperately needs the money, and given the fact that gambling already occurs in our state and given that we all love freedom, doesn't it make sense to let people exercise their freedom in a way that directs money to florida's citizens? wouldn't it be appropriate to set aside -- [applause] wouldn't it be appropriate to set aside personal biases and approve a compact that will help pay to educate florida's schoolchildren? approving the compact is but
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one example of he will straighting problem -- elevating problem-solving over ideology. another thing that comes to mind is the federal stimulus package. so let's talk about it. the federal stimulus package was enacted last year in the hope of jump-starting a national economy that was in the dire depths of recession. the stimulus package is frequently given a $787 billion price tag, but you should know that almost $300 billion of it was in the form of tax cuts, to families and businesses. the remaining money was apportioned to the states. a few governors may have rather loudly condemned the stimulus money but that did not stop any of them from quietly accepting it. [applause]
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bear in mind, that floridians who as a group, floridians as a group represent a significant part of the american tax-paying public. we will be paying for part of the stimulus package. it only follows that if we're paying for it, we should have the advantage of receiving it. [applause] so given our budget shortfall, and given that floridians were paying for part of the stimulus package, doesn't it make sense to spend our energies maximizing the benefit of that package? isn't it our duty to advocate that florida receive her fair share? isn't that more helpful to
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floridians then engaging hollow idealogical posturing that achieves nothing? [applause] this is what i mean by sticking to our core principles and not elevating ideology over real solutions. my core principles is not to raise taxes. although there were loud calls to broadly raise taxes, to keep the budget funded at a higher level, with your help, we chose instead to dramatically cut the budget and avoid devastating tax increases at a time when floridians were already under enormous financial stress. at the same time, the members of this legislature recognized the practical need for the stimulus money. and i thank you for it. while not particularly pleasant for any of us, this
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step was the responsible thing to do for our people. and i commend you for your maturity, and responsibility and the people of florida thank you today. as we learned -- [applause] as we have learned from our own experience, when we focus on problem-solving we achieve extraordinary results. in december we came here together for the opportunity, for the construction of a 21st century rail system in florida. this remarkable achievement will potentially create thousands of high-paying jobs and keep florida competitive on the world stage. i appreciate your resolve and vision in making this a possibility for all floridians. i want to also express my appreciation to secretary stephanie cop louis sass, steve if i kopelousos. first woman to lead the
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florida department of transportation. stephanie, thank you. [applause] during the last three years, my administration has focused on other economic development initiatives as well. in mid 2008, shortly after the recession began, i created accelerate florida to speed up over a billion dollars in direct expenditures for public sector projects. last week i had the privilege of breaking ground on one of those projects. the i-5-95 expressway improvements which will relief traffic congestion in south florida. this $1.2 billion project uses next generation contracting that will move it from design to ribbon-cutting in 4 1/2 years instead of the usual 15 years. and it will -- [applause]
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[inaudible] and it will create as many as 34,000 jobs in the region and boost our economy. at the same time, i launched an initiative to cut red tape in government and not burden businesses with unreasonable regulation. this action allows small businesses to grow faster and hire more employees. with your help, during the first three years of my administration, we made florida much safer. for all of our citizens. i enacted the anti-murder act. you improved the jessica lunsford act, striking back at violent criminals and sexual predators of children. fellow floridians, i am happy to report we are now seeing a decrease in violent crime. thanks to the great -- [applause] thanks primarily to the great work of state and local law enforcement officers and the crime-solving tools of the
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florida department of law enforcement. our citizens are better protected than ever before. florida's new fingerprint identification system is improving our rate of solving cold cases by 300%. benefiting victims hurt by previously unsolved crimes. three years ago, florida had an estimated $3.8 million residents living without any health insurance. we proposed a landmark, a landmark market-based option of health coverage, called cover florida. this program is available to almost any floridian offering basic coverage for about $150 a month instead of the typical $600 a month. as with any private sector plan the more expensive coverage you want, the higher the premiums. but with so many lacking basic preventative care, cover florida remains a sound option for thousands of floridians. since i became governor, growth in kidcare enrollment has reduced the number of
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uninsured children by more than 20,000 while our florida discount drug card has saved almost $251,000 floridians -- 251,000 fluoride deans, $5.4 million on prescription drugs. [applause] two years ago, two years ago, i asked you to fund the next generation of mobile devices to revolutionize how we protect children in florida's foster care system. at the time i noted that we were better attracting ups packages than the children of our state. today, caseworkers responsible for the safety of more than 18,500 children in foster care have begun using mobile devices. just like this one. [applause] to take pictures, record gps coordinates and enter case information. these mobile devices will help 2300 caseworkers spend
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more time with children and less time on paperwork. also with your help, there are more than 10,000 fewer children in state foster care than three years ago. [applause] frankly your willingness to fund my request for an office of chief child advocate has literally meant new lives for thousands of children. for the last two years, florida has set records for the number of adoptions from state care. records two years in a row. florida's children deserve every opportunity to succeed in life. for that reason you passed, and i signed, legislation that provides early intervention for children with watt tim. now -- autism. families dealing with autism have insurance coverage among large group carriers for important services such as speech therapy and essential screenings that
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can detect autism. while we are doing a better job of insuring the health and safety of our children, we must improve the background screenings of those who work with children. elders and persons disabilities and others of our vulnerable population. i ask you to join me that working on legislation that ensure we verify the screening results before employees are authorized to go to work. we have not lost sight of the fact that educating our schoolchildren is our most important investment in the future. we want to add to the accomplishments of governor bush and this administration by continuing to build the best public school system in america. [applause] florida's students must be equipped to become the entrepreneurs, the engineers, the researchers, and other highly-skilled talent that will fuel our future innovation economy.
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over the past four years our schools have seen their rank move from 31st to 14th, to number 10, and now 8th in america by education week's quality count report. [applause] 8th in america. you know, florida, florida leads the nation in high school graduates taking advanced placement exams and is ranked 5th in the percentage of students passing those exams. [applause] today, today, our graduation rate is the highest its ever been. and we have more "a" and "b" schools than ever since we began grading them in 1999, despite tougher standards. with us tonight is jill rose, principle of miami community charter school. under her leadership, miami community charter went from
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being an f to an "a" school in one year. congratulations to you. [applause] congratulations to you, the faculty, the students and their parents. you have recognized our highest achieving teachers by making teacher bonuses a reality. we must further reward teachers of advanced placement programs by increasing their rewards for success. your 2009-2010 budget, which i was pleased to sign, saved 20,000 teacher jobs. [applause] and this year, you have already begun to look at other common sense ways to
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maintain our commitment for smaller class sizes but we must maintain our commitment to excellence. always improving the teacher skills of our teachers and making our schools more accountable for student learning. we should also expand our tax credit scholarships so that more low income parents are empowered to send their parents to the schools they choose. [applause] these and other achievements have positioned us to succeed in the race to the top competition for millions of dollars in federal fund for florida's schools. we will know the results of those efforts very soon. after slow progress for decades, my administration hit the fast forward button on a plan to save the everglades. the vision of a river of grass that once again flows from lake okeechobee to florida bay is now on the horizon. long-requested federal dollars will finally
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complete the tamiami trail project. while the bold plan to purchase thousands of acres south of the lake will help make this vision a reality, i want to thank tonight the department of environmental protection secretary mike sole and his great team. stand up, secretary and please be recognized. [applause] i recently appointed three new members to the south florida water management district and i want to thank all of them for their efforts as well. we have also preserved more than 638,000 acres of pristine land through our florida forever program since 2001. to continue our progress, i am proposing $50 million towards everglades restoration and $50 million to reinitiate florida forever. i -- [applause]
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i ask the legislature to fund these installments for florida's future. while we have accomplished many important tasks during these three years, there is still much work to do. my entire administration stands ready to work with you to address many issues we will confront over the next 59 days. yet there are three issues, three issues of major importance that we must address. jobs and prosperity for floridians, continued improvements to our schools, colleges and universities, and reinstilling confidence in the integrity of our government and the public trust. [applause] this session and for the remainder of my term as governor, my strongest focus will continue to be creating new and better jobs for floridians. while corporate productivity seems to be growing we still
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long for a corresponding increase in the number of job opportunities. your action today, to delay a substantial increase in unemployment compensation tax is a tremendous help to business. to help even more, i ask you to create tax relief for families and businesses totaling at least $100 million in tax cuts. this -- [applause] this tax relief will help current and potential new businesses, those with the sole ability to create jobs for your citizens, as part of this effort, i ask you to bring back the sales tax holiday for 10 days just before the new school year. this step will put millions back into the pockets of florida families. they will thank you as will florida businesses. [applause] we can also help by slashing red tape. we can create a
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business-friendly, virtual one-stop shop where entrepreneurs and business owners can easily find the information they need to open and run a business. business-friendly, potentially job-creating proposals are something government can do and should do to help jump-start our economy. florida's economy has long relied on the twin blessings of agriculture and tourism. bringing a combined economic impact of more than $165 billion to our state. these industries have served our state and our people well. and we must insure their continued success. we must also build the next generation of florida's economy. innovation has built florida's biotechnology business sector with almost 11% of all biotech companies in our country. yet we must do more. more innovation means more businesses and more jobs for our fellow floridians, to achieve these goals, i ask you to invest $125 million to attract and grow
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innovation companies and the jobs they bring as well was 10 million dollars for shovel-ready projects in the rural areas of our state. we can also strengthen our clean energy business sector by investing $10 million for solar energy rebates, as well as injecting $176 million in federal funding into our economy by expanding green energy technology, including rebates for energy efficient appliances. the historic legislation passed two years ago is creating a new energy future for florida. where we strive to become among the top two states in the nation in terms of solar energy. we are now there. [applause] you know, come to think of it, ass the sunshine state we should expect nothing less. 2010 marks 50th year of the
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manned spaceflight leaving from cape canaveral. the shuttle fleet almost completed its 30-year mission, leaving in question the future of nearly 7,000 floridians affected by this change. these are truly the best and brightest and florida would be ill-served if their many talents would leave our state. i recently convened a space summit to chart a new course for florida's aerospace industry. i would like to personally thank representative steve crisafulli and senatored that altman for sponsoring the space revitallization act that will marshall resources needed to create jobs for the talented professionals affected by the federal government's disappointing change of direction. [applause] i also call on you, to invest $32.6 million toward the next generation of space
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exploration missions. florida is once again leading the way and to keep the momentum moving forward, i will meet with florida's congressional delegation and other national leaders in washington, d.c. later this month to explain the benefits of their continued investment in florida as the gateway to space. this is something that we must do. at the same time, we should also invest $100 million in our state universities in new florida, as a down payment to increase degree production in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine. and strengthen florida's future. [applause] community and state colleges have been the workhorses of our efforts to provide access to higher education across our state. we should invest $67 million to help offset the tremendous enrollment growth in these programs over the past several years. [applause]
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and finally, i will keep a strong focus during this session on fighting public corruption. i have proposed measures for at least one very important public agency, the public service commission. it creates more transparency and fairness in their deliberations. i believe the commissioners should function more like judges. and we can achieve this by making sure all communications, commissioners have with those they regulate is open and transparent. and it includes the public -- [applause] you can applaud that. that's the right thing to do. [applause] it will improve the public's confidence and give those who rule over the consumers a better opportunity to do what's right. i have also been concerned that since becoming governor i have had to suspend or remove no less than 35 public officials from office.
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as a result last fall, i asked our great florida supreme court to impanel a statewide grand jury and i am grateful they have granted that request. my final request of these distinguished jurists, is that a timeline for the grand jury that will enable us to enact legislation that will hold public officials to a higher ethical standard and help restore the public's trust in their elected leaders. [applause] let me talk about trust. public trust. each and everyone of you in this room ran for office and when you ran you went in your communities, you knocked on doors and you asked people to give them, to give you, their vote. when you did that, you asked them to trust you. it was an important thing to do. and they gave you by
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electing you, that public trust. it is precious. it is to be cherished. it is not to be sqaupdered. a great president once said of our country, that our country and our government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. and that it should not perish from the earth. that was abraham lincoln. that government of the people, by the people, and for the people is nothing unless it is based on fundamental trust. it is at the core of everything we do here. everything we say here. if the people can not trust us, they won't believe anything we say. i know you believe that. i know it's important to you. and i know by passing additional legislation we will further honor the boss, the people, that we work for. and thank you for doing that. [applause]
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in closing, i simply remind you, this year more than others, our achievements will be measured not by the passion of our rhetoric but our ability to be problem-solvers and guide the ship of our state through the economic storm that we face together. i have absolute confidence in the wisdom of the house and the senate. in each of you here today. i love florida. i love her with all my heart. as i know you do. and together, we can do great things for our people. i commit to you my energy and efforts in this endeavor. it is my loss that i will not serve again with you during a legislative session. but it has been my greatest gain to have served with you at all. when i imagined florida's future i can not help but see past the current troubles to the bright future that awaits us. i ask you to focus your sights there as well.
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understand that a bountiful harvest will abound from the seeds we plant today. when the story of this session is written, i am confident it will be viewed as a unique time in florida's history when we set aside our minor differences to unite behind a much greater purpose placed before us, a greater good, if you will. that is the imperative of this session. and one that i know we will fulfill. and when we do, make no mistake, we can enjoy the greatest compliment of all. in a history yet to be written, we will be known as good captains in the fury of this storm. thank you very much. god bless each of you and god bless our florida. thank you. [applause] [inaudible]
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