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May
2011
9

FL Beats Back Worker Gag Bill and Anti-PLA Law, Sees UI Benefits Reduced, Voting Restricted



Florida’s Legislative session ended in the wee hours Saturday morning and the results were mixed. Many bills passed that will burden working families, while many others were beaten back, thanks in large part to a concerted, undying effort by labor supportive groups. Florida is a state divided, with some Democratic State Senators threatening to take their own Governor to Federal court and other Republican State Senators using their Governor’s complete lunacy as a shield.

Here is a brief rundown of the outcomes of the madness. Follow @BlogWood on Twitter for dozens of daily Florida updates.

BILLS THAT PASSED:

SB 736/HB 7019 — this is the Teacher Merit Pay bill. It is widely viewed as absurd to create a subjective system that encourages inhibitions on wages.

SB 728/HB 7005 — a 54% reduction in Unemployment Insurance benefit weeks that also makes it easier to terminate employees without benefits and changes the law to disadvantage employees during unemployment hearings.

SB 958/HB 7221 — a Constitutional amendment to place a cap on state revenues.

SB 2144/HB 7107 — this enacts the privatization of Medicaid

SB 2086/ HB 1355 — Shrinks the number of early voting days and adds restrictions on voter registration. Bills such as this are seen as an attack on young people (college students, for example, may change addresses when in school versus when they’re at home), women (if a woman marries and changes her name she may be prohibited from voting because of the name change) and minorities. The law also prohibits voter protection activities and reduces the time to conduct citizen’s initiative drives by 50%.

SB 2100/ HB 1405 — Raises retirement contributions of employees by 3% and reduces the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for new hires.

SB 1128/HB 7241 — Changes police, firefighter and other local pensions systems.

SB 1218/ HB 1471 — the Repeal of the “Blain Amendment” allows the use of tax dollars to fund religious groups.

BILLS THAT FAILED (aka reasons to cheer):

SB 1720/ HB 1025 — Automatic Union Decertification

SB 830/HB 1021 — perhaps the most publicized of the union-centric bills, the Worker Gag Bill would have prohibited union dues deductions from paychecks, effectively stripping unions of important political capitol.

HB 923/SB 1352 — the most important victory for the private sector, especially construction, the bill would have prohibited Project Labor Agreements, Local Hiring Ordinances, and Prevailing Wages.

SB 2040/HB 691 — the bill would have imposed an “Arizona Like” Immigration package.

SB 982/HB 241 — bill would have prohibited local wage theft ordinances. Hard to imagine someone would want to create a law that prevents people from being paid. But, anything’s possible in Florida these days.

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