Rich Templin

Under warnings about past failures, FL lawmakers launch redistricting efforts

BY: - September 20, 2021

A legislative process that will affect elections in Florida for years to come began Monday under the shadow of a history lesson on what not to do. Florida Senate Redistricting Committee Chair Ray Rodrigues, a Lee County Republican, opened the inaugural meeting with a review of the wrongdoings committed 10 years ago, in the Legislature’s […]

Advocates in FL are considering legal action against DeSantis for ceasing federal unemployment supplement

BY: - June 24, 2021

Following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to cut off distribution of the $300 weekly federal unemployment supplement, a labor union is exploring legal action if the governor doesn’t reverse course. The federal unemployment program expires in Florida on Saturday but the Florida AFL-CIO hopes DeSantis will accede to its petition, supported by additional advocacy groups, urging […]

Florida faces dire shortages of restaurant workers: ‘They don’t think we are worth the money’

BY: - June 2, 2021

Sharon Sessions worked as a line cook for over a year at a Whataburger in Tallahassee, earning $9 per hour — an amount slightly over the state’s minimum wage of $8.65. A single mother, she’s been working in the restaurant industry for more than 15 years, trying to make ends meet to take care of […]

What’s the rush? Democrats question urgency of GOP plan to change payment of union dues

BY: - February 10, 2021

Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved fast-tracked legislation on Wednesday that Florida labor groups call a union-buster bill. Sen. Ray Rodrigues, a Lee County Republican, said his Senate Bill 78 simply adds a second layer of affirmation that a public employee wants union dues deducted from his or her paycheck before the deductions […]

FL Legislature 2021: Working families caught between economic crisis and pandemic

BY: - February 10, 2021

The least-fortunate of Florida’s working families are in trouble, in ways that Florida lawmakers have never faced before. Few could have imagined the coronavirus pandemic would persist for over a year, with hundreds of thousands of Floridians still, or again, unemployed and struggling. Hundreds of thousands are at risk of being disconnected from utilities and/or […]

Governor’s ‘anti-mob’ bill draws barrage of condemnation in first legislative hearing

BY: - January 27, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ anti-mob legislation drew a barrage of public condemnation Wednesday when it was heard publicly for the first time in a Florida legislative committee. After two and half of hours of heated public testimony, the bill passed 11-6 on party lines and advances to its next committee hearing. So many witnesses signed up […]

Unions hope workplace safety rules are coming soon: ‘Some of these workplaces are atrocious’

BY: - January 27, 2021

While top Florida lawmakers fast-track legislation to shield employers from COVID-19 lawsuits, unions that represent many of Florida’s 10 million workers say employees need their own protections on the job. “Some of these workplaces are atrocious. They’re not doing anything,” said Rebecca Reindel, national safety and health director with the AFL-CIO. “We’re 10 months into […]

The 2020 elections: State and local races could influence Florida’s future for the next decade

BY: - November 2, 2020

For all the storm and stress attending the presidential election in Florida, other ballot races will also prove decisive to the future of the state — particularly for state House and Senate members who will redraw legislative district boundaries next year. That redrawing of those districts in line with the 2020 U.S. Census — and […]

COVID primary: Some crowded races, dark money, and a push for women candidates

BY: - August 17, 2020

Floridians go to the polls on Tuesday in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic to cast votes in party primaries for state and local offices. Scratch that: Florida doesn’t really have election day anymore — it’s more of a multi-week election episode. Early in-person voting began on Aug. 3, and local supervisors of election began […]

FL seniors fear Trump’s payroll-tax cut could threaten Social Security

BY: - August 11, 2020

With billions of dollars of Social Security benefits flowing into Florida yearly, seniors are concerned about a presidential order to suspend payroll taxes that fund the social program. Dave Bruns, a spokesman for AARP Florida, said he has taken many calls in the last two days from seniors worried about the long-term viability of Social […]

Workers describe being denied state jobless assistance without even an explanation

BY: - May 14, 2020

Florida’s broken unemployment system was difficult to navigate already but, even when applicants get through it, many are being denied their benefits without explanation, according to Florida labor unions and advocates. Thomas Spellman, who was laid off from his job as a construction apprentice, said Thursday that he was denied benefits after applying three times […]

FL workers struggle to claim unemployment benefits, even as feds increase aid during COVID-19 crisis

BY: - March 30, 2020

Maxine Jackson worked as a housekeeper at the posh St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami-Dade County until March 20, when she was laid off. Now Jackson, is a single mother raising five children, needs help in the form of unemployment benefits that Florida pays workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their […]