Liberal media and activist groups blasted Florida Gov. Rick Scott under false pretenses this week after Scott signed a bill protecting the freedom of Florida employers to set their own paid leave policies.
Think Progress, an arm of the Center for American Progress, published an article on Tuesday titled “Florida’s Governor Signs Business-Backed Bill Banning Paid Sick Leave.” The bill, however, does not ban paid sick leave. Many Florida employers offer their employees paid sick leave and the bill does nothing to block employers from offering such a job benefit. The bill merely ensures that Florida employers are not required by law to pay workers for days they don’t show up for work claiming to be sick.
Liberal activist groups such as the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress pushed hard for liberal-leaning Florida counties to enact laws requiring employers to pay workers for days they don’t show up for work and claim to be sick. State legislators feared such laws would raise costs for entrepreneurs, torpedo job creation in the state, and create a confusing patchwork of paid sick leave laws for employers doing business in multiple Florida counties.
The Florida legislature passed the legislation with overwhelming support. The Florida House passed the bill by a vote of 75-43. The Florida Senate passed the bill by a vote of 25-13. Scott did not publicly take a position on the bill as it worked its way through the legislature. On Monday Scott signed the bill into law.
Immediately after Scott signed the bill, liberal media and activist groups pounded Scott with factually inaccurate claims about the bill.
Several media outlets joined the Center for American Progress distorting the issue. America Online (AOL), for example, published an article and an accompanying news video titled “Florida Bans Paid Sick Leave Statewide.” The bill does not ban paid sick leave.
In-state Florida media similarly distorted the facts on the issue. The Orlando Sentinel similarly distorted the facts, publishing an article titled “Another Florida newspaper urges Scott: Veto bill blocking paid sick leave.”
Liberal activist groups also tried to smear the bill and the bill’s legislative supporters by linking it to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a voluntary association of state legislators from around the country who share the core conservative principles of limited government and free markets. ALEC sponsors meetings each year where conservative legislators from the 50 states can gather and share ideas, experiences and best practices from their various states. Soros, the Center for American Progress, and other liberal activists frequently smear ALEC in an attempt to thwart ALEC’s conservative core principles.
The Center for American Progress, Salon.com, the Huffington Post, and other liberal media outlets and activist groups highlighted ALEC’s endorsement of legislation similar to the Florida paid sick leave bill. Rather than sully the bill’s prospects, however, the liberal activists’ attempts to link the bill to ALEC merely strengthened the prospects for the bill as one that has support from conservative legislators statewide and nationwide.