Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed 150 bills without a single veto during his term in office, according to the Palm Beach Post.
However, the first piece of legislation that Scott did veto - SB 1992 - has the state's elderly population up in arms. Scott recently rejected a measure that would have eliminated background screening
requirements for nursing home volunteers. While Scott noted that banning the checks is "not a risk worth taking" in his veto letter, the move was pushed by Republican Senator Ronda Storms as a cost-saving initiative. The screenings, which cost an average of $45 dollars per person, have hurt other community organizations such as Meals on Wheels, which has lost some of its helpers who can't afford to pay to be screened. Scott instituted the legislature in 2010 without the inclusion of any state funding to help pay for the checks. "No one wants older Floridians exposed to abuse," Jeff Johnson, the AARP's interim director for Florida, told the news source. "However, we believe the vetoed legislation struck a balance between protecting the clients of community service agencies and the capability of those agencies to provide needed services." In addition to maintaining the costly checks, Scott also endorsed the reduction of mandatory staffing for long-term care facilities. "It is odd that Governor Scott vetoed this bill, but signed legislation that puts frail seniors more at risk - the law allowing nursing homes to reduce nursing care for the frailest of all Floridians," Johnson added. "There is an abundance of evidence that cutting nursing-home staffing standards leads directly to serious, even tragic, health problems for nursing-home residents." The ire Scott has drawn from the AARP only added to his less than stellar approval rating in the state. According to The Wall Street Journal, a Quinnipiac survey reported Scott has the lowest approval rating among governors at 29 percent - a 6 percent drop from his early February numbers. Scott's Republican supporters feel his dip in ratings may damage the party's chances of winning Florida in the 2012 presidential election. "If in a year and a half from now, Governor Scott's approval ratings are still very low … then it's going to come back and hurt the Republican party," GOP state Senator Mike Fasano told the media outlet. Scott mentioned in his veto report that he planned to sign an executive order to review that state's policy on background screening in an effort to assist caregiver organizations having trouble with payments, according to the Post.