Will Tampa Bay's wage theft ordinances spur the Legislature to act?
Now that the Hillsborough County Commission has voted to move forward with a local wage theft ordinance, it's worth recalling what Sen. Jack Latvala told Bay Buzz a couple of months ago: As more local governments pass measures to combat wage theft, the pressure grows on the Legislature to take some kind of action.
Latvala, R-Clearwater, tried earlier this year to pass a bill that would make it a crime not to pay workers but it died in committee. Pro-business like the Florida Retail Federation and the Chamber of Commerce groups don't like the idea of a criminal penalty.
But they also oppose the proliferation of local ordinances as some of the state's biggest counties, frustrated with the lack of action in Tallahassee, take matters into their own hands. The patchwork of local measures, groups say, are an onerous burden on businesses. (Read more about the rise of local ordinances here.)
Now Hillsborough, which will hold a public hearing on its ordinance on Oct. 21, is about to join Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, among others. Pinellas is not far behind, with a public hearing on its ordinance slated for Nov. 10 along.
"Maybe I'll push a little harder since this is hitting closer to home," Latvala told Bay Buzz in August.