Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has taken his executive authority a step too far, according to a state supreme court ruling this week.
When Scott took office in January, one of his first initiatives was issuing an executive order temporarily barring state agencies from creating new rules or regulations. It further created the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform within the governor’s office to review any rules that stifle job creation or “impose burdensome costs on businesses.”
As the Florida Independent reports, Rosalie Whiley, a blind woman in Florida seeking to apply for food stamps, filed suit against Scott’s executive order, arguing that the initiative made it more difficult for her to apply for the food stamps.
“Just because the Legislature allows the governor to appoint the heads of these agencies does not mean that the governor has the power to control their rulemaking by fiat,” the lawsuit argued, according to the report.
As the Miami Herald reports, Whiley wanted the executive order lifted. But the court didn’t go quite that far. Instead, the court ruled that the “Legislature retains the sole right to delegate rulemaking authority to agencies, and all provisions in [Scott’s executive orders] that operate to suspend rulemaking contrary to the Administrative Procedures Act constitute an encroachment upon a legislative function.”
Scott called the ruling a “disappointment.” “Think about it,” he said. “Secretaries of these agencies report to me. And I’m not supposed to supervise them? It doesn’t make any sense.” Scott’s office did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
As the Independent points out, the practical implications of the ruling are not yet clear. But it’s a judicial blow to a governor who in May earned his worst approval rating yet.
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David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com