The Urban Caucus committee met at FAC’s Legislative Conference to discuss issues that were of particular importance to our larger counties. The hot issues were the Department of Corrections’ proposal to shift inmates from the state prison system to county jails and recent developments in litigation surrounding the State/County shared juvenile detention system. FAC’s new proposed policy statements on these issues were reviewed and approved by the Caucus and ultimately adopted in the Public Safety Committee that next day.
The group also discussed potential legislation that may be filed in 2013 that would prohibit counties from having administrative tribunals to hear and rule on allegations of wage theft.
A 2010 report by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy for the Florida Wage Theft Task Force analyzed documented wage violations in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties and found 3,697 wage violations reported from August 2006-August 2010. As a result, in February 2010, Miami-Dade enacted an ordinance prohibiting wage theft and creating an administrative tribunal within the county’s Department of Small Business Development to hear such cases. The administrative process is an alternative to filing a claim in court. From February 2010 –September 2010, Miami-Dade awarded almost $800,000 to complainant employees through this process.
In October, 2012, Broward County became the second county to enact a wage theft ordinance creating a similar administrative tribunal for such cases. Just this month, Palm Beach County adopted their own policy on wage theft matters that allows for Legal Aid advocates to assist employees through the court system.
In both 2011 and 2012, legislation was filed to preempt such wage theft ordinances but ultimately did not pass. It is expected that another bill will be filed in 2013. The meeting had to be adjourned before the Caucus made a formal recommendation on matter and the issue was not discussed at the FTA meeting the next morning, due again to time constraints. However, the Legislative Executive Committee can address the issue if a bill is filed.For more information or questions please contact FAC Advocate Lisa Hurley.