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Governor Crist Signs Bill to Streamline Port Security Requirements

Legislation aimed at reducing some of the cumbersome security requirements at ports as a way to spur international trade was signed Monday by Gov. Charlie Crist.

The governor, signing the bill at Port Everglades, said the measure wouldn't mean the ports would be any less secure.

“This legislation strengthens Florida’s proud reputation as a world leader in international trade by making the state’s ports more accessible yet more secure,” said Crist. “Florida’s international trade has remained strong, in spite of challenges in other business sectors, and this bill will only increase the state’s ability to successfully sell products and services around the globe.”

The measure (HB 7141) will reduce the number of security badges by requiring a single federal credentialling system. Workers who work at more than one port will also only need to have one background check. The bill also adds port workers to the panel that reviews seaport security standards.

Crist was joined for the signing by bill sponsors Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres and Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo.

Overseas trade has been a bright spot in Florida since the economy tanked. Exports from the state increased 21 percent last year, compared with an increase of just under 12 percent in U.S. exports as a whole. The new law was applauded by the business community.

“HB 7141 will help reduce costs for employers who utilize our ports and increase Florida’s ability to compete with other states’ mega-ports such as Savannah, Mobile or New Orleans," Associated Industries of Florida CEO Barney T. Bishop said in a release after the bill signing.

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