2020 Legislative Session Update

February 25, 2020

1199SEIU Florida Members Turn Tallahassee Purple On Senior Day

Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 5.27.00 PM.pngDozens of 1199SEIU Florida members recently turned Tallahassee purple for Senior Day, one of the most important public events this Legislative Session. Caravans of CNAs and other workers with 1199SEIU, the first labor union to be a community sponsor of the high-profile action, made their voices heard for seniors and their caregivers to lawmakers, news media and other key audiences.

Union teams set up booths in the busy outdoor Capitol Courtyard and indoor rotunda to engage state officials and others who can help this vital cause as legislators consider bills that that will impact Florida seniors and long-term care workers. Meanwhile, member teams fanned out in a flurry of face-to-face lobbying visits to 30 state legislators, sharing personal stories of challenges on the job and making ends meet at home, their commitment to hard work and dedication to their patients.

“It’s critical that lawmakers see our faces and hear our voices before they vote on a healthcare issue, because we’re the experts on the front lines taking care of our patients and our own families each and every day,” said Veronica Bryan, who led the Miami lobbying team.

Powerful Florida Coalition Fights For More LTC Funding, Silver Solutions

Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 5.26.44 PM.pngA powerful coalition including 1199SEIU Florida, AARP and LeadingAge Florida have joined in an effort to improve the state’s elder-care system to benefit the rapidly growing population of Florida seniors, as well as their caregivers. One of the coalition’s priorities this Legislative Session is to boost an inflationary increase and overall budgeting for long-term care (LTC) facilities. This will help nursing centers fund proper staffing levels, wage and benefit increases, and other factors in improving quality of care to residents. Coalition members are working hard together with allied lawmakers to allocate this funding and support measures that will improve the lives of our elderly loved ones, as well as their dedicated caregivers.

Florida CNA, MPO Testifies Before Florida House On Healthcare Reform

Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 5.26.17 PM.pngCNA and MPO Lead Sophia Colley of 1199SEIU testified before the powerful House Health Market Reform Subcommittee to share her story of dedication to patients and challenges of caregivers. Lawmakers were considering bills impacting LTC staffing and other issues that would put additional pressure on workers struggling to serve patients and provide for their own families. Legislators were persuaded by Sophia’s compelling words and other 1199SEIU efforts, as problematic staffing elements were stripped from pending legislation.

Good Bills/Bad Bills Still Being Debated in 2020 Florida Legislative Session

Bills can change quickly in the Florida House and Senate as lawmakers are presented with opposing views. Unfortunately, big business and powerful insiders often use their money and resources to gain an unfair advantage over the needs of working families. That’s why it’s critical for everyday Floridians to stay informed, engaged and united in numbers, speaking out against misguided bills and supporting smart policy. Below is a brief scorecard of the most pressing legislation – good and bad – that could impact our 1199SEIU Florida union members and currently are being considered by the State Legislature.

Your calls, actions, emails, letters and other contact truly can make a difference on these issues:

Current Legislative Scorecard (subject to change)

HB 1: An attack union rights that would weaken workers’ ability to stand up to employers & demand better wages, benefits & workplace protections.

HB 305: “Preemption” or taking away the right of communities to make local ordinances, such as setting a higher minimum wage than state law.

SB 1544/HB 1373: These bills would streamline & improve access to important LTC services for thousands of Florida seniors & others in need.

HB 7037: Further deny voters’ rights to petition & place amendments on the ballot, additionally concentrating power in the hands of a few.