🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 1

Heroes! Watch our first update for the 2018 Florida Legislative Session.

In this episode, we cover how the Florida House is rushing through legislation that attacks workers rights, silences local governments, denies benefits to injured Florida workers, and splits apart our local communities, all while ensuring corporate tax giveaways stay permanent.

Key legislation discussed this week:

Supermajority Vote to Close Loopholes, Exemptions, Raise Revenue (TABOR)

SB 1742 Stargel / HB 7001 by Leek  – OPPOSE

This could be the biggest threat to working families this session.  This bill proposes an amendment to Florida’s Constitution requiring a supermajority vote in both chambers to raise revenues, close current tax exemptions and eliminate corporate tax loopholes.  Florida’s revenue picture is grim right now and state services are suffering across the board.  This proposed constitutional amendment would lock us in at these low levels in perpetuity.  This is another form of the disastrous Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) public policy that we have fought and defeated in the past.

Federal Immigration Enforcement

SB 308 by Bean / HB 9 by Metz – OPPOSE

This bill is attempting to obstruct the power and authority of local governments to protect the civil rights of their communities; would force local governments and officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities at a level that is not mandated or funded by the federal government; would authorize the Attorney General to sue local governments and officials who do not comply, and would fine localities up to $5,000 per day for not enforcing the policies.  This isn’t just an attack on immigrant communities, this is another attack on local control, what that could have negative impacts on local budgets and public sector workers everywhere.

Workers’ Compensation                                                                                                                              

HB 7009 by Burgess – OPPOSE

In 2003, citing rising insurance premiums, the legislature radically altered Florida’s workers’ comp system. They slashed benefits for workers, capped attorney’s fees so injured workers couldn’t access the courts, cut retraining programs and many other negative changes impacting workers.  The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that some aspects of the law are unconstitutional (i.e. caps on fees) so the Legislature has to revisit the law.  In addition to protecting access to the courts, we will be pushing for:

  • The ability for injured workers to use the doctor of their choice
  • A reinstatement of training benefits
  • An increase in benefits for workers deemed to have a “permanent total disability” and other changes.

This bill does not address these issues at all and in fact, further diminishes the ability for injured workers to access the courts.  HB 7009 is almost identical to last year’s House bill that we vigorously fought and eventually defeated.  So far the Senate has not offered a comprehensive workers’ comp bill.