Posts Tagged ‘anitere flores’

Fla. lawmakers pass no anti-abortion bills in 2012

Posted on: March 12th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Planned Parenthood Rally at Capitol, Pic by Ashley Lopez

Despite last session’s onslaught of legislation aimed at cracking down on legal abortions in the state, the Florida Legislature did not pass a single anti-abortion bill during the 2012 legislative session. About 10 anti-abortion bills were introduced this year. (more…)

Flordia GOP wage theft bill amended, stalled in Senate committee

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments
A bill filed by Florida state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, that would prohibit Florida cities and counties from passing ordinances that crack down on wage theft, the practice of stiffing workers out of money they are owed, did not make it out of the Senate Judiciary committee Monday.

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Fla. bill would bar local crackdowns on wage theft

Posted on: February 17th, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

State Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami (Pic by <a href="http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/PhotoAlbums/photoalbum.aspx?MemberId=4342&SessionId=61">Meredith Geddings</a>)

South Florida labor and worker’s rights organizations are mobilizing their members and calling on state senators to stop a GOP bill that would prohibit Florida cities and counties from passing ordinances that crack down on wage theft, the practice of stiffing workers out of money they are owed.

The Senate version of the bill — filed by state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs — is on the Judiciary committee calendar for Mon., Jan. 20. State Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Titusville, filed the legislation that passed a first vote in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee in early December, and a second vote in a House subcommittee in early January.

People Engaged in Active Community Efforts — aka PEACE, a coalition of 27 religious congregations from Palm Beach County — wrote to all the members of the Judiciary committee Thursday expressing their “sincere hope that you will oppose the bill.”

The letter adds:

We understand Senator Simmons plans on introducing an amendment that would provide for some sort of “courts” solution to the problem of wage theft locally. We know all too well what this so-called solution would look like, given that this is exactly what the opponents to our local Wage Theft Ordinance have pushed here in Palm Beach County. In fact, they have been successful in getting a pilot program up and running, dubbed the “Legal Aid Model,” which essentially refers victims of wage theft to the courts after an attempt at conciliation.

The letter also points to a study released in October that compares the wage theft project of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County with the wage theft program at the Department of Small Business Development of Miami-Dade County. That study found that Miami-Dade received and resolved a larger number of cases than did Legal Aid.

It also found that Palm Beach recovered 2.5 percent of the claim dollars through conciliation; Miami-Dade recovered 45 percent of claim dollars.

South Florida Jobs with Justice, which supports organized labor and workers, issued a press release Thursday calling on its members to contact Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, the chair of the Judiciary committee, urging her to kill the bill.

Jobs with Justice writes:

This bill, mis-titled Wage Theft Protection for Employees, does not protect employees but instead takes away the ability of local government to do so. Should the bill pass, workers throughout Miami-Dade County will no longer be able to seek viable help when they work and are not paid. And local governments in other counties won’t be able to step up and help their residences either.

In January, the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (known as RISEP) at Florida International University released a study that shows that wage theft — employers stiffing workers out of money they are owed — remains a widespread problem that affects millions of Floridians.

The report states what supporters of the local anti-wage theft ordinances have told The Florida Independent before: Existing federal workplace laws do not protect millions of workers, including “hospital, school, or government workers or workers at small, local firms, including contractors for larger companies.” Florida’s minimum wage law also excludes millions of workers “from protections against employers who withhold their earnings.”

The business lobby that supports the Goodson/Simmons bill includes the Florida Retail Federation, which has a pending court challenge against the Miami-Dade anti-wage theft ordinance, and Associated Builders and Contractors.

Samantha Hunter Padgett, deputy general counsel for the Florida Retail Federation, told the Independent in December that her organization supports Simmons’ bill because “existing state and federal laws address the issues raised in local wage theft ordinances.

Jeanette Smith, a registered Republican and a member of the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, opposes Goodson and Simmons’ bill. She tells the Independent that “a large number of employees in Florida do not fall under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, nor any other federal law.”

According to Smith, when opponents of local anti-wage theft ordinances say it’s a federal issue, “they’re assuming people can go to the wage and hours division of the federal department of labor for assistance, and they can’t.”

Anti-abortion bill lacks mental illnesses safeguards

Posted on: February 16th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

State Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview (Pic by Mark Foley, via myfloridahouse.gov)

Michelle Cory, a 58-year-old resident of Margate, says a law making its way through the Florida Legislature that would restrict access to third trimester abortions would endanger the health of women with mental health problems. (more…)

Florida students to hold prayer vigil to support proposed in-state tuition bills

Posted on: February 2nd, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Students Working for Equal Rights and other groups will hold a prayer vigil at the Miami office of Republican state Sen. Anitere Flores today, two days after a Florida Senate committee shot down a bill that would have allowed U.S.-born children of undocumented workers to qualify for in-state tuition rates at Florida colleges. (more…)

Florida women commission lobbies delegation on abortion, wage theft, shackling

Posted on: January 31st, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

The Miami-Dade County Commission for Women sent a letter Monday to the Miami-Dade legislative delegation in Tallahassee, expressing its position on several “pending bills of particular importance to Florida’s women and girls.”

The letter highlights the commission’s opposition to abortion restriction bills and the wage theft preemption bill, and urges lawmakers to support measures that would prohibit the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners and grant unemployment benefits to victims of domestic violence.

“We are a county advisory board on women’s issues and try to improve the status of women in the community,” Laura Morilla, the director of Miami-Dade’s Commission for Women, tells The Florida Independent. Morilla says the commission is nonpartisan and all members are appointed by the county commissioners.

The Miami-Dade delegation is made up of 25 members: seven senators and 18 representatives. State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, is the current chair of the delegation, and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, serves as the vice chair.

The Commission for Women letter urges legislators to “enact without delay”

  • Senate Bill 328/House Bill239, which creates a lottery scratch-off ticket that funds breast cancer research and services for low-income, uninsured breast cancer patients.
  • House Bill 623, which provides for cancer chemotherapy treatment parity.
  • House Bill 367/Senate Bill 524, which “prohibits the use of restraints on a prisoner that is known to be pregnant during labor, delivery and postpartum recovery.”
  • House Bill 99/Senate bill 202, which “tackles the heinous crime of child sexual exploitation in a comprehensive manner.”
  • House Bill 1083/Senate Bill 1440, which “would make domestic violence a good cause for unemployment eligibility” benefits.
  • Post Secondary Student Fees (“Florida Dream Act”) and Resident Status for Tuition Purposes, two bills filed in the House and Senate that would “establish and clarify rules regarding which students would qualify for resident tuition rates at the Florida universities and colleges.”

The letter also urges legislators to oppose the following bills:

  • The wage theft preemption bill ”that would wipe out Miami-Dade County’s successful Wage Theft Ordinance and prevent other counties and municipalities from enacting similar ordinances.”
  • The alimony revision bill, which the Commission for Women believes “is a solution in search of a problem.”
  • The various abortion restriction bills, “basically designed to make it more difficult for a woman to terminate a pregnancy, and in some cases would outright ban abortion, which is a perfectly legal medical procedure in the United States.”

On the abortion restriction bills the letter adds that while “the Legislature professes to be in favor of less government interference … year after year, it deems it necessary to intrude when it comes to women’s health issues, personal decisions and relationships with their doctors.”

New Florida bill would make performing abortions a felony

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 by The American Independent No Comments

Florida Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka (Photo: myfloridahouse.gov/Meredith Geddings)

Last week, Florida state Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, followed through on his announcement that he would bring back a bill that bans abortion in the state of Florida, providing only an exception to save the life of the mother. Van Zant’s bill would make performing an abortion a felony.

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Florida state senator: GOP-led Legislature wants to regulate women’s bodies, again

Posted on: December 1st, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise (Photo flsenate.gov/Minority Office)

In an op-ed for South Florida Sun Sentinel, state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, writes that the GOP-led Legislature is yet again focusing on curbing women’s rights, instead of easing the pain of the state’s economic woes.

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