Floridians are the latest state residents to fall victim to an underhanded and harmful effort to undermine democracy across the country. Yesterday, members of the Florida House approved far-reaching legislation that will prohibit all localities from establishing paid sick days standards. The state Senate passed the measure last week. It now goes to Governor Scott for final approval.
This is truly a sad day for Florida, where a coalition of workers, businesses and advocates have been working to increase access to fundamental paid sick days protections. In September, despite the will of Orange County voters, the Florida business lobby and lawmakers under its influence kept citizens from being able to vote on an ordinance that would have guaranteed workers in the county the right to earn paid sick days. There has also been significant energy around and support for a paid sick days standard for workers in Miami-Dade county.
It is unacceptable that in a state like Florida, where residents clearly support common sense paid sick days standards, local lawmakers are being denied the ability to respond to their constituents by enacting the workplace standards they want and need – especially when proponents of the bill fail to offer state-level solutions. Yet this is part of a growing trend of so-called “preemption” bills designed to subvert local authorities’ ability to address local needs. At least six states have enacted similar measures, and they are being considered in at least four more.
We commend the Florida Coalition for Local Control for fighting against this damaging bill, and call on Governor Scott to veto it. In the meantime, the prevalence of state preemption bills make the case for a national standard like the Healthy Families Act even stronger. Working people across the country urgently need this common sense policy.