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State employees' charitable campaign repealed

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After the program was suspended more than a year ago amid controversy, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill this week that eliminates a decades-old state employees’ charitable campaign.

The bill (HB 651) was approved overwhelmingly during the legislative session that ended March 11.

The payroll-deduction program was suspended in December 2016 after facing plummeting contributions amid a controversy about money going to a private fiscal agent.

The United Way had long managed the program, but that changed several years ago when the state hired a New Jersey firm to be the fiscal agent.

A House staff analysis said at the time of the December 2016 suspension, 63 percent of every dollar pledged would have gone to fiscal-agent fees instead of charities.

Legislative supporters of eliminating the program also argued that employees have other ways to donate to charities.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, with the Senate version filed by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge.