Press Releases

Gary Fineout
August 5, 2022
Florida Playbook- POLITICO 
 
‘WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A CITRUS INDUSTRY’ — Senate Democrats this week blocked an effort by Sen. Marco Rubio to get a bill aimed at helping Florida’s orange growers through the Senate even though the legislation has bipartisan support from the state’s congressional delegation. The legislation would direct regulators to alter federal requirements for what constitutes pasteurized orange juice, primarily by lowering the amount of the juice that must come from soluble solids such as naturally occurring sugar.
 
What’s in your glass? — Rubio, who tried to get the bill passed by unanimous consent, said the legislation was needed to aid Florida growers who have been hammered in recent years by citrus greening and that they have had to import oranges from other countries to meet the sugar standard. But Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, objected to moving the bill forward and said she was “very concerned” about “skipping regular order” and doing something that would “overrule” Food and Drug Administration experts.
 
Floor speech — Rubio told his colleagues that the current standard imposed by the FDA as “arbitrary” and had no health or safety rationale and he said that action needed to be taken as soon as possible: “We would love for this to go through a normal process. The problem is by the time the FDA makes a decision on it, there may not be any growers left," he said. "And let me explain why that is a problem. These citrus growers sit on valuable land. Every developer in the state is trying to get their hands on that land. They'd love to develop it into a mall [or] into an industrial park. We're facing those problems everywhere.”
 
Watch the full exchange on the Senate floor.