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Moms Pushing Baby Strollers Urge Scott To Veto Sick Leave Preemption Bill

Thousands of petitions from Floridians across the state were delivered to Governor Rick Scott’s office Tuesday. They were delivered by a group of women pushing baby strollers, who are urging Scott to veto a measure that they say would force women to lose pay while caring for a sick loved one.

“We are delivering 11,000 petitions to Governor Rick Scott,” said Ingrid Gomez to a Governor's office Secretary.

“You said there’s 11,000 petitions,” asked the Secretary.

“Yes ma’am,” she replied.

"My, you’ve been busy," said the Secretary, as the crowd of women and reporters laughed.

Gomez is hoping she and a group of women armed with baby strollers and thousands of petitions could convince Scott to veto a particular pre-emption bill.

It’s a measure that seeks to prevent local governments from passing their own ordinances that mandate companies provide certain benefits to their employees, like paid sick leave.

And, Denise Diaz, a mother of two from Orange County, says that’s unfair.

“You know, really, a mother like me, should not have to make the choice around whether or not to care for my children when they are sick and family members or losing a days pay of work. And so, this is why we’re urging Governor Rick Scott to speak up for Moms like me all over the state and veto HB 655,” said Diaz.

The measure is sponsored by Republicans, Representative Steve Precourt and Senator David Simmons. Simmons, during this past session, argued the bill is necessary to create one uniform standard across the state.

“This is critical for the economic integrity of this state. We cannot have a patchwork of local governments impose upon private employers a set of requirements for employee benefits. You have a local government impose upon you the obligation to provide certain benefits, and then you have a competitor in the next county who doesn’t have that obligation, you’re at a competitive disadvantage,” said Simmons, during the session.

“So, we don’t think it’s actually a patchwork quilt. We think that’s an argument made up to push back against this, and that large corporations can actually deal with this,” argued Stephanie Porta Tuesday.

Porta is with Organize Now, a group that helped lead the effort to put Earned Sick Time on the ballot in Orange County.

But, the vote on whether to allow mandatory sick leave time in that area was postponed by county commissioners, in a move bill opponents believe paved the way for the state to draft the bill.

In addition to Organize Now, opponents of the state measure include groups like, MomsRising.org and the National Council of La Raza.

Proponents of the state measure include Walt Disney World and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, while the bill passed the state Legislature this Session, it has not yet been sent to the Governor. Scott hasn’t shown any indication of whether he intends to sign or veto the legislation. He could also let the measure become law without his signature.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.