A leading group behind the push for mandatory paid sick time in Orange County is starting an online petition to urge Gov. Rick Scott to veto a bill that would block local governments from adopting such measures.
Organize Now started the petition over the weekend using the SignOn.org website, which is run by Moveon.org, a progressive advocacy group.
UPDATE: When asked if the governor supports or opposes the bill, a spokesman for Scott would only say, “we are reviewing it.”
The group’s chances of convincing Scott appear to be slim, though. Republicans roundly backed the bills, sponsored state Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando and Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs. No Democrats voted for its final passage.
But powerful business interests, from Walt Disney World and Darden Restaurants to theFlorida Chamber of Commerce, have made it a priority to ban local governments from passing paid sick time benefit mandates for workers, such as the one pending in Orange County.
In its petition, the group also ties the paid sick time issue to Republican state lawmakers’ decision to reject an expansion of health-care coverage for roughly one million low-income Floridians, as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
“With the absence of expanded health care coverage, Florida is at a risk,” the petition states. “Right now, Florida’s hardworking families cannot afford to get sick because more than a million have been denied access to health care coverage and none of them will have Earned Sick Time protections. But you can change this and help our families by vetoing HB 655.”
The group also pointed to Scott’s recent stances on favoring local control, and avoiding signing laws that retroactively interfere with current court rulings.
Here’s a link to the petition.
Meanwhile, opponents of mandatory paid sick time are cheering passage of the legislation.
“The bill is now on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for signature and, upon becoming law, it will effectively nullify the Orange County referendum on paid sick leave slated for the August 2014 primary election,” is how the Central Florida Partnership‘s Every Monday news bulletin described it.
Precourt and Simmons were commended for “steering this necessary measure through the Legislature on behalf of Florida’s business community,” said Mike Ketchum, a partnership vice president. “Without passage of preemption legislation businesses throughout our state would have potentially faced a hodgepodge of conflicting and costly paid sick leave mandates.”
Here’s the business group’s newsletter.