By Evelyn Perez-Verdia
Members of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida visited Tallahassee today to lobby legislators on issues they believe are important to Hispanics in Florida.
“Today, the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida is in the State Capitol advocating for our Latino community in the issues that will improve their quality of life such as state minimum wage, driver license requirements, employment discrimination and many other bills that will lead to a positive change for our community,” said Vivian Rodriguez, President of the DHCF “We will be lobbying on behalf of the countless Hispanic voices that need to be heard in Tallahassee”
Yet, when the DHCF scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, March 25, at 11:45 am in front of the Senate Chamber to report on its progress, forty people were left standing behind a podium with no one to share their efforts with. Media did not attend or cover the event–The question is Why?
This was the second year that the DHCF visits the state capital to try to influence its representatives on the following bills:
HB 25 – Employment Discrimination
Designates act as “Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act”; provides legislative findings & intent relating to equal pay for equal work for women; recognizes importance of DEO & FHRC in ensuring fair pay; provides for duties of department & commission; creates Governor’s Recognition Award for Pay Equity in Workplace.
SB 98: Employment Discrimination
Creating the Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act; recognizing the importance of the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Commission on Human Relations in ensuring fair pay; creating the Governor’s Recognition Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace; requiring that the award be given annually to employers in this state which have engaged in activities that eliminate the barriers to equal pay for equal work for women, etc.
HB 33 – Prohibited Discrimination
General Bill by Raschein (CO-SPONSORS) Edwards; Hager; Jenne; Jones, S.; Moskowitz; Richardson; Stark
Creates “Florida Competitive Workforce Act”; prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity or expression; defines terms; provides exceptions for constitutionally protected free exercise of religion.
SB 156: Prohibited Discrimination
GENERAL BILL by Abruzzo
Creating the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act”; revising provisions to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and the perception of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, handicap, or marital status as impermissible grounds for discrimination; adding sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as impermissible grounds for discrimination, etc.
SB 300: Driver Licenses and Identification Cards
GENERAL BILL by Garcia ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Bullard
Driver Licenses and Identification Cards; Requiring proof of a taxpayer identification number or other specified identification number for certain applicants for a driver license; authorizing additional specified documents that are issued by foreign governments to satisfy proof of identity requirements; prohibiting the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to waive certain tests for applicants who provide specified proof of identity documents; requiring the department to mark licenses to indicate compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005 under specified circumstances, etc.
SB 364: Driver License Requirements
GENERAL BILL by Soto
Including notice of the approval of an application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as valid proof of identity for purposes of applying for a driver license, etc.
HB 47 – State Minimum Wage
General Bill by Stafford (CO-SPONSORS) Cortes, J.; Watson, B.
Increases state minimum wage; provides that an employer may not pay employee at rate less than state minimum wage; deletes requirement that only individuals entitled to receive federal minimum wage are eligible to receive state minimum wage.
SB 114: State Minimum Wage
GENERAL BILL by Bullard
Increasing the state minimum wage; prohibiting an employer from paying an employee at a rate less than the state minimum wage; deleting the requirement that only individuals entitled to receive the federal minimum wage are eligible to receive the state minimum wage, etc.
SB 128: New Small Business Tax Credit
GENERAL BILL by Soto
Providing a tax credit to new small businesses in a specified amount for qualified employees; limiting the total amount of tax credit that may be taken as a deduction; prohibiting receipt of the tax credit through a refund of taxes previously paid; requiring a business to apply to the Department of Revenue for tax credit approval; authorizing an unused amount of tax credit to be carried forward for a specified period under certain circumstances, etc.
SB 228: Online Voter Application
GENERAL BILL by Clemens
Requiring the Division of Elections of the Department of State to develop an online voter registration system; requiring the system to compare information submitted online with Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records, etc.
SB 280: Teacher Salaries
GENERAL BILL by Soto ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Bullard
Citing this act as the “Florida Teacher Fair Pay Act”; requiring the Legislature to fund the Florida Education Finance Program at a level that ensures a guaranteed minimum annual starting salary for instructional personnel; requiring the Department of Education to annually adjust the minimum starting salary; providing a formula for calculating such adjustment; requiring district school boards to adjust the minimum starting salary determined by the department by applying the district cost differential; providing that such adjustment may not reduce starting salaries below the statewide minimum, etc.
HB 4005 – Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms
General Bill by Steube (CO-SPONSORS) Baxley; Combee; Diaz, M.; Eagle; Hutson; Stone; Van Zant Deletes provision prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility.
I want to congratulate the DHCF and the Hispanic leaders who traveled statewide to advocate for what they believe is important for the Hispanic community.
Let’s hope next time people of influence will help this be made known to our community, and to Floridians by sharing with their media contacts. Let’s hope that next time, media believes it is important enough for them to cover. It is a winning message that Hispanics do matter in Florida. When no one speaks, the message received is that it is okay to ignore us.