Sen. Chris Smith’s ‘American Jobs’ bill wins Senate committee approval

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale) designed to harness Florida tax dollars and state contracts to create American jobs won unanimous approval on Monday from the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.

“This bill puts the power of our tax dollars to work creating jobs on American soil,” said Senator Smith. “Passing this bill sends the message that the Florida Senate believes that the tax dollars of Floridians should be used to help rebuild America’s economy.”

Under Senate Bill 678, any future state contracts involving call center services and exceeding $35,000 would require that the call center be staffed by employees located within the United States.

The legislation would be a welcome relief to customers in the United States struggling to understand call center operators with limited English-speaking abilities and growing concern about the commitment of state dollars to companies that move jobs offshore.

Many companies already operate call centers in the United States and would not incur significant extra costs as a result of the change. Florida in particular has a strong call center market, and in a state struggling with an above average unemployment rate, would be well positioned to take advantage of the new requirement should the bill become law.

The legislation next heads to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee for a hearing.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.