Floridians the Latest Victims of “Underhanded, Harmful” Preemption Trend
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 14, 2013 —
"By signing a law that prohibits all localities in the state from establishing paid sick days standards, Florida Governor Rick Scott provided a troubling reminder of the power of the organized business lobby. But this is a temporary victory; this law will not stop efforts to increase access to the paid sick days America’s workers and their families want and need.
In Florida, 80 percent
of residents say that workers should be able to earn paid sick days, and six in 10 want localities to be able to make their own laws. Yet state lawmakers and the governor refused to accept the will — and prioritize the well-being — of the people and instead sided with corporate special interests. It is deeply disappointing that they used this underhanded tactic to harm workers and thwart the democratic process.
It is no coincidence that, as workers in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Connecticut — and, soon, Portland, Ore., and New York City — celebrate new paid sick days standards, the number of ‘preemption’ bills like this one has steadily increased. Similar bills or laws now exist in at least 13 states. They undermine democracy and deny local lawmakers the ability to respond to their constituents, without offering state-level solutions.
We commend the Florida Coalition for Local Control for fighting this bill, along with the coalitions of workers, businesses and advocates that have been working to advance paid sick days proposals in the state. It is a sad day for democracy and for workers in Florida, but it will not diminish our efforts. This outrageous action further strengthens the imperative for a national standard like the Healthy Families Act
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.