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Scott urged to move cautiously with long list of suggested reforms

Governor-elect Rick Scott promises it won't be business as usual when he takes the reins of the state's highest office on Jan. 4, and if he adopts the giant to-do list from the six groups on his transition team, there may be no doubt he has kept his promise.

The wide-ranging list of recommendations cover everything from considering the sale of Jackson Memorial Hospital to giving universal vouchers to all parents to send their children to private schools.

The ideas contemplate merging more than a dozen state agencies into two or three departments, raising residential electricity rates in exchange for lower commercial rates, privatizing the state's mental health facilities, punishing the unemployed for spending too little time hunting for jobs and even identifying a private-sector employee to run the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Depending on the suggestions, Scott may adopt many of the proposals himself after he takes office, such as creating a ``chief reform officer'' inside the executive office of the governor. But most of the ideas will require legislative or federal approval, budget changes and, in the case of universal vouchers, a possible amendment to the state Constitution. As a result, Scott supporters are urging the new governor to read the recommendations carefully and move methodically before asking lawmakers for approval and support.

Scott is being advised by six transition groups, covering rules and regulations, prisons and legal affairs, economic development, job creation, education and administrative changes.

``Some of these sound like common-sense ideas and others are going back to the past where things didn't work,'' said Sen. Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican and one of two legislators who are among Scott's main advisors on the team. ``After a thorough debate, the Legislature will view some of them positively but will view some of them with great caution.'' Read story here.