ALEC-Orchestrated Bill In Florida Would Block Cities From Making Paid Sick Leave Laws

Florida’s House of Representatives is pushing forward a bill that would prevent any municipality in the state from adopting its own paid sick leave policy.

The state’s House Majority Leader Steve Precourt (R) says the move is necessary as “momentum for those things” is “building.” And he should know — Precourt represents Orlando, FL, where the county council knocked a paid sick leave initiative off the ballot in the final hours before the deadline. That effort was expected to make it onto the 2014 ballot but, if Precourt’s bill passes first, it will be forever banned.

Efforts to stop paid sick leave legislation are collectively referred to as preemption bills. They are orchestrated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, a right-wing group trying to coordinate conservative laws across states. Most infamously, ALEC was responsible for ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws. To put it mildly, Majority Leader Precourt is an active member:

Precourt’s proposal actually goes further than Wisconsin’s bill by incorporating ALEC model legislation that would preempt local living wage requirements as well. (ALEC’s slate of bills promoting a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions for America’s workforce was recently detailed in a report by the National Employment Law Project.)

Precourt attended the 2011 ALEC meeting where legislators were handed complete copies of Wisconsin’s 2011 Senate Bill 23. He reported receiving $487.38 from the corporate-funded “scholarship fund” to attend the 2011 ALEC meeting.[…]

Also at that 2011 ALEC meeting, Precourt and sixteen other Florida legislators attended a “State Night” dinner at Antoine’s Restaurant, where lawmakers sat down with corporate lobbyists for meals that averaged around $120. But Florida legislators were not asked to pay a dime for their expensive night out: their tab was picked up by the corporate-funded ALEC “scholarship fund.”

The paid sick leave initiative in Precourt’s home county had garnered 50,000 signatures before business interests colluded with a seven-person council to slow the effort to a halt.

Big businesses oppose the law because they see it as an unnecessary financial burden — similarly, Precourt criticized paid sick leave as “injecting more and more [economic] uncertainty.” That criticism is unfounded and thoroughly debunked; sick leave is actually good for economic interests, not to mention simply humane.