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!