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2020 Session is upon us and there are some interesting labor and employment bills percolating through the Florida Legislature. Here are few particularly notable bills that caught our eye:

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is a frequent flier in the Florida Legislature and 2020 is no exception. One pending bill proposes increasing the state’s minimum wage every year, eventually tracking inflation. This bill does not seem to be well-received and our prediction is that it will not make it to a floor vote. (For more information, see House Bill 691 and Senate Bill 456)

Preemption of Local Government Conditions on Employment

Perhaps prompted by Miami Beach’s effort to set its own local minimum wage at a rate higher than the state’s, legislators have submitted a bill which prohibits local governments from regulating certain conditions of employment (including minimum wage among others) which are already regulated by the state. This bill, which promotes principals of regulatory consistency across local governments, appears poised to make it to a floor vote. (For more information, see House Bill 305 and Senate Bill 1126).

Prohibited Discrimination

Another recurring hot topic is whether sexual orientation and gender identity can form the basis for a discrimination claim. A pending bill proposes expanding the Florida Civil Rights Act to include these characteristics and give them the same legal protections as race and religion, which would include the ability to file a charge with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and bring suit for damages. However, this bill does not seem to be gaining much traction and the likelihood that it will see a floor vote appears to be low. (For more information, see House Bill 161 and Senate Bill 206).

Paying Student Athletes

Sports fans across the state and nation are closely watching the evolution of student-athlete compensation. 2019 was an active year in this arena; first California passed legislation allowing student-athletes to receive pay for the use of their name, image, or likeness. The NCAA then receded from its long-held prohibition against student-athlete compensation. The Florida Legislature has taken up the issue. Pending legislation would allow student athletes to receive pay for the use of their name, likeness, and image, so long as the payment is not coming from their university and the students’ contracts do not interfere with their university’s sponsorship contracts. (For more information, see House Bill 251, House Bill 287, Senate Bill 582 and Senate Bill 646).

We will be keeping a close eye on this and other employment-related bills making their way through the legislature this session and will provide another update once session has wrapped!