TALLAHASSEE -- The year-long fight over imposing earned-sick leave requirements on businesses in Orange County is cranking back up.
The Florida Legislature passed a sick-leave bill last spring which blocks local governments from enacting sick-leave policies like the one that had been slated for a public vote in Orange County.
The bill blocked local sick-leave laws for a year, until a task force could report back to lawmakers in 2014 on whether to draft a statewide policy.
That task force is slated to hold its third hearing in Tallahassee on Tuesday, and organizers pushing for paid sick-leave policies plan to drive supporters there.
"Supporters of earned sick time standards from across the state are traveling to Tallahassee to send a message to the task force," said Stephanie Porta, one organizer of the sick time movement. "Task force members need to hear first hand the impact preempting these laws is having on local communities."
The legislation was inspired and pushed by Walt Disney and Darden Restaurants after more than 50,000 Orange County residents signed a petition last year to ask voters whether to require that many businesses offer paid sick-leave to employees. The County Commission initially blocked the vote, but a three-judge panel later ordered them to put it on the 2014 ballot. But the bill rendered the vote meaningless.
The Senate-drafted compromise was pushed by Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Sprngs, dropped a broader prohibition on local governments from enforcing "living wage" laws on the books in Broward, Miami-Dade, Orlando and elsewhere.
The bill is a watered down version from one that would have originally blocked local governments from also imposing higher wage-requirements for government contractors.