Gov. Scott’s signing of sick leave bill draws fierce reactions

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A controversial measure that blocks local governments from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to workers was signed into law Friday by Gov. Rick Scott.

The signing of the anti-mandatory sick leave bill (HB 655) drew fierce reaction, with applause from statewide business interests and condemnation from those behind an Orange County ballot initiative that would have required paid sick time.

Here is a compilation of the reaction:

Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association:

“Thank you to Governor Rick Scott for signing the paid leave preemption legislation and protecting members of the tourism and hospitality industry. Our industry has consistently fought for uniformity and fairness across the state, whether it relates to inspections, licensing fees, or training requirements. Florida businesses cannot survive with competing regulations on a county by county basis and this legislation now allows for a level playing field for job creation and expansion.”

Bill Herrle, Executive Director of NFIB/Florida:

“Mandatory paid leave passed at the local level is a job killer – avoiding a crazy quilt of leave mandates throughout the state was absolutely critical for small business this year.“Disparate local leave laws disincentivize businesses from expanding and operating in multiple municipalities, and small-business owners cannot survive with one-size-fits-all mandates that take away their right to determine the best benefits for their employees.“We thank Governor Scott for standing up for this sensible public policy and signing HB655 to protect Florida’s job creators.”

Associated Industries’ Tom Feeney:

“Local governments mandating employment benefits that extend beyond current state and federal requirements creates a dangerous threat to Florida’s overall economic recovery and prosperity. Not only would it destroy economic growth and job creation in their own jurisdiction, it would also have a devastating chilling effect on companies considering expansion in any location in Florida for fear other jurisdictions will follow suit. 

“Heaping additional regulations on our employers and creating a patchwork of mandates that change from county to county or city to city will only succeed in driving business away from the Sunshine State. If three or five members of a local commission can force employers to offer benefits beyond the normal requirements, and effectively change employment laws overnight, companies are going to locate in another state. It will be our neighbors to the north – Alabama and Georgia – and even other countries, such as China, that reap the job producing benefits of business-friendly policies.”

Debra Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families: 

“By signing a law that prohibits all localities in the state from establishing paid sick days standards, Florida Governor Rick Scott provided a troubling reminder of the power of the organized business lobby. But this is a temporary victory; this law will not stop efforts to increase access to the paid sick days America’s workers and their families want and need. 

In Florida, 80 percent of residents say that workers should be able to earn paid sick days, and six in 10 want localities to be able to make their own laws. Yet state lawmakers and the governor refused to accept the will – and prioritize the well-being – of the people and instead sided with corporate special interests. It is deeply disappointing that they used this underhanded tactic to harm workers and thwart the democratic process.

Stephanie Porta, a leader in the initiative fight to get Earned Sick Time on the ballot in Orange County:

“Today, Gov. Scott sided with corporations like Disney and Darden over Florida families. But the fight for Earned Sick Time will continue.  Floridians believe in earned sick time for hardworking families and we don’t give up when we believe in something.”

Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber:

“Protecting small businesses and jobs from union mandates that drive up costs makes Florida more competitive. This law ensures mandatory leave is decided at the state level and preempts union-backed efforts to have local and county governments adopt policies governing terms of employment and other wage related issues.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.