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Goodson Receives Award For Championing Wage Theft Bill; Opponents Say He Deserves It

A Florida lawmaker has received an award for his work on a wage theft bill that he’s filed for three years in a row on behalf of the Florida Retail Federation. But, opponents of the bill say he deserves a failing grade for championing the measure they say “makes it more difficult for victims of wage theft to recover their losses.”

Republican Representative Tom Goodson of Titusville recently received the 2013 Representative of the Year Award for his work during this past legislative session on a couple of issues important to the Florida Retail Federation, or the FRF. The main one is the wage theft bill, and the group’s General Counsel Samantha Padgett says Goodson deserves the recognition.

“It (HB 1125) would have provided a solution for employees and employers in every city and every county throughout the state of Florida. They would have had a consistent solution to the issue of wage theft. And, he’s has championed this bill three years in a row and passed it every year, not successful in passing it on the Senate side and getting it over the finish line, but Representative Goodson has been a tireless champion on the House side on this issue,” said Padgett.

And, AFL-CIO’s Rich Templin agrees Goodson deserves the award he received Wednesday from the Florida Retail Federation.

“…in that when the Retail Federation felt like it was politically expedient to amend the bill, he amended the bill….reverse course on some issues, he reversed course on some issues. So, I think he was a very, very good employee of the Florida Retail Federation this session. But, I have to add he should get failing marks because he was championing one of the most despicable pieces of legislation that has come through this process in a long time,” said Templin.

The wage theft bill would have created a uniform standard across the state, instead of allowing most counties to have their own local wage recovery programs. While he agrees there needs to be a statewide solution, Templin says it’s unfair to those that already have their own programs. He adds he also doesn’t like how the bill doesn’t pay for the victim’s attorney fees.

The bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.  The Florida Retail Federation's Padgett says the group is looking into whether they should bring the issue back up again next year.

According to a release by the FRF, Goodson also received the award for being "successful in addressing inequity in the delinquency fees that Florida retailers can claim on late credit payments. Florida credit grantors had long been at a disadvantage to out of state credit grantors with higher fees."

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.