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Scott's first official act: freeze rules, screen state workers

Gov. Rick Scott hustled from the inaugural stage to his Capitol office where shortly before 1 p.m. he signed four executive orders aimed at fulfilling some of his campaign p  pledges.

Scott created the Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform Office to review all proposed and existing state regulations to gauge whether they’re worth keeping. Now ex-Gov. Charlie Crist’s former budget director, Jerry McDaniel, will lead the office.

Within the orders signed, Scott also is freezing rulemaking by agencies reporting to his office. He’s creating an “accountability website,” apparently aimed at helping him target state rules and regulations that might stand in the way of job creation, the policy that formed the central theme of his inaugural speech.

“I believe Floridians have a right to know how their money is being spent,” Scott said, signing the orders on the unadorned desk in the governor’s office – which he took occupancy of as of noon Tuesday.

As has become the custom of his inauguration, Scott took no questions after signing the orders. But he did say to pool media gathered in his office, “I look forward to working with all of you.”

Scott then exited for a lunch with Florida legislators on the Capitol’s 22nd floor.

Scott also will make state employees in the agencies he leads be subject to review that they are legally qualified to work. These thousands of state employees also will be subject to E-Verify review, to avoid the risk of having undocumented aliens on the state payroll.

Scott had made clamping down on illegal immigration a major plank of his Republican primary platform against rival Bill McCollum. Following his primary victory, the immigration issue largely disappeared from his campaign against Democrat Alex Sink.

Scott also renewed by order the Office of Open Government created by his predecessor, Crist, while also pledging to bolster the governor’s office’s ethics standards. Scott added that he plans to review the recent report of the statewide grand jury, which recommended a range of stiffer ethics provisions affecting public employees and elected officials.

Another order was designed to strengthen current prohibitions on discrimination in state employment.

-- John Kennedy, News Service of Florida