🚨LEG UPDATE: Florida Legislature Passes HB 7055

UPDATE 6:30PM: In a prime example of how HB 7055 was rushed through the process, after passing the Senate earlier this afternoon the Florida House completed the final passage of this bill this evening. The bill now goes to Governor Scott’s desk to be signed into law.

As we have seen over the last week with the teachers strike in West Virginia, there is power in numbers. HB 7055 is another attempt to chip away at that collective power.

The Florida AFL-CIO has and will always fight for the rights of workers to have a voice in their workplace. There’s a reason why corporate special interests and the legislators they own constantly try to undermine unions. That’s because they know that the last line of defense in protecting our most fundamental democratic institutions like public education, workplace safety, and good jobs with fair wages is a united and organized work force.

Today was a sad day in Florida. Today’s vote pours salt in the wound of last year’s HB 7069 battle but we are confident that the people are waking up to this threat to our most cherished institution and are ready to escalate the fight.

Thank you to the thousands that called, emailed, and visited your legislators over the last nine weeks of legislative session. Your voices were heard, but our legislators still voted against public education and our teachers, and for wealthy school privatization interests in our state.

The struggle to protect our schools is far from over and we must increase our collective efforts in the months to come. Stay active, stay focused and stay tuned for updates in the coming days by signing up for legislative alerts on our website at www.flaflcio.org

UPDATE 5:00PM EST: The people of Florida learned a cruel truth today about the Florida Legislature. They learned that the corrupt forces of school privatization are controlling both chambers of the legislature and members of both parties. They also learned that those looking to profit by destroying education will do anything, especially destroying one of the most effective forces against them, our teachers and their unions.

HB 7055 will shift millions, eventually billions of tax payer dollars from traditional public schools to for-profit interests including private schools and charter schools and silence the teachers and their union who stand in opposition. Four brave Republicans, Senators Hukill, Grimsley, Lee and Young, stood up to these forces and stood strong with public education. That would have been enough.

Unfortunately one Democrat stood with school privatization. Senator Bill Montford voted for the bill. If he would have stood with our public schools and honored the principles of their party, this travesty would not have happened.

Since the bill was amended in the Senate, HB 7055 now goes back to the House for final passage before it goes to Governor Scott to be signed into law.

Before the House attempts to pass this bill again, make sure they hear from you. Use Florida Education Association (FEA) online tool to be connected with your local House member NOW!

Link: http://feaactioncenter.org/act/h-no-7055/

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 8

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Heroes! Start off your penultimate legislative update in action by dialing (855) 235-2469 and telling your Senator to vote NO on HB 7055 that is up for a final vote this Monday.

In this update we cover how our villainous Speaker of the Florida House has completely hijacked the legislative process by forcing his hand to push the Senate to pass HB 7001, legislation that would make it almost impossible to close corporate tax loopholes and HB 7055, legislation that would siphon millions of taxpayer dollars to for profit schools and decertify teachers unions.

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” – Batman

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 7

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Heroes! Get dangerously informed with our recap for week seven of the 2018 Legislative Session.

In our newest update we cover the continued attack on public education, legislators scrambling to protect corporate tax loopholes, students from Parkland to Tallahassee descending on the old Florida Capitol in protest and much more.

After the update, take action by dialing 855-235-2469 to tell your Florida Senator to vote NO on HB 7055.

“When you decide not to be afraid, you can find friends in super unexpected places.” – Ms. Marvel

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 6

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Heroes! Fly into action with our union update for week six of Florida’s Legislative Session. In this episode we cover yet another attempt to dismantle public education in the Florida House, the Senate bill that would ban fracking, and union members from across the state storming the halls of the Capitol.

After the update, pick up the phone and call 855-235-2469 to tell your Florida Senator to vote NO on HB 7055. This bill is a disaster for our states students, teachers and public schools, and this our chance to stop it.

“If you cage the beast, the beast will get angry.” – Wolverine

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 5

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Heroes! Special interest villains abound in our update for week five of Florida’s Legislative Session.

Watch as we cover working families taking to the halls of the capitol in opposition to the massive education “train” bill HB 7055, the Constitution Revision Commissions “Terrible 10” anti-worker proposals, and legislation that would ban fracking in Florida.

“I hope justice is found here today… before justice finds you.” – Daredevil

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 4

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Heroes! Union-busting villains are back in our week four legislative update.

In this update we, cover legislators restricting revenue for public programs, the HB 1 “Bully Bill,” anti-immigrant legislation, and HB 7055 the massive new attack to defund public education and bust up teachers’ unions.

Call 855.235.2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local Florida Representative. Leave them with the message that they need to stand up for our public schools, our students, and our teachers by voting NO on HB 7055.

“This isn’t freedom. We’re holding a gun to every citizen’s head and calling it security.” – Captain America

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 3

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Heroes! Check out our action-packed session update for week 3.

In this week’s video update, we cover Equal Pay Day, heated Florida House debate on the passing of union-busting HB 25, corporate tax loophole legislation, and union heroes storming the halls of the capitol.

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” – Batman


🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 2

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Heroes! Check out our legislative update for week 2 of session.

In this week’s video, we cover the Constitution Revision Commission’s attempt to take away fair pay from our local school boards, activists taking action against fracking in Florida, Apprenticeship Week at the capitol, and an important call to action to stop union busting HB 25 that will be voted on this week!

Call 855-235-2469 to be connected with your local representative and tell them to stand with our state’s public workers and vote NO on HB 25.

“There is a right and wrong in the universe. And the distinction is not hard to make.” – Superman

🎥 2018 Legislative Update: Week 1

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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.