Sick time bill protest held at Orlando City Hall - FOX 35 News Orlando

Sick time bill protest held at Orlando City Hall

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The bevy of groups trying to get a referendum on paid sick time in Orange County gathered at Orlando City Hall to rail against the Florida Legislature.

The Florida House has passed a bill that would prevent local governments from passing any ordinance or allowing any referendum that would interfere with the relationship between an employer and employee.  Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph says the people are being cheated if they do not get a vote.

"Make no mistake. This is nothing more than when big business loses at the local level, they run to the Legislature that they bought with millions of dollars of campaign contributions," said Randolph.

The bill would stop sick time leave and also prevent things like a living wage ordinance.

"How much longer are we going to watch Tallahassee be out of touch with the citizens of Florida?"

Randolph and allies were not the only ones at the news conference. Some tea party activists were there as well, to oppose the protesters.  Business owner Prince Brown told me that these groups were not as local and grassroots as they may appear.

"It's not the local people that are deciding this. It's these unions from out of state."

The groups are backed by unions like the AFL-CIO and SEIU. I spoke with activist Stephanie Porta about this association. She works for Organize Now, another national advocacy organization, but told me the groups are local and independent.

"People locally came together to for a solution, sat down with small businesses to actually come up with a solution to what was going on in their community, and  this is the legislation, earned sick time. Unfortunately we can't even have that debate right now because we're not even able to  have our votes counted if this legislation passes."

The bill is already through the Florida House and being heard in the Florida Senate.  Business groups like Disney, Darden, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce all support the legislation.



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