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Ron DeSantis’ Law Denying Outdoor Workers Heat Protections Sparks Outrage

A picture of governor Desantis
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Ron DeSantis’ Law Denying Outdoor Workers Heat Protections Sparks Outrage

Source: Pinterest

With the recent signing of two pieces of legislation regarding police supervision and workplace safety, Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis has further curtailed the authority of local governments. 

Workers are forced to work in the scorching sun without access to water or shade since a recent state rule forbids local heat protection measures.

What the New Rule Explains

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DeSantis approved the legislation, which forbids local administrations from instructing outdoor workers to take water and heat breaks beginning on July 1, 2024. 

Additionally, DeSantis signed a rule that removes investigative officers from local citizen police oversight boards. In Florida, counties and localities can no longer require employers to provide drink, shade, and rest to their outside workers on hot days.

Heat Kills Faster

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Due to its subtle nature and lack of recognition as a cause of death, heat kills silently. However, the statistics show that it kills more people than all other kinds of natural disasters put together.

Despite killing more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and so on, it goes unrecognized. Besides, heat waves are a recurring problem in Florida as Florida has extreme temperatures all year round.

ALSO READ: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Blocks Climate Change Plans After Spending Billions

Workers Are Concerned

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The heat is an inevitable part of the job for Javier Torres and other employees in South Florida whose work is done outside. According to a new law that Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, just signed, that will probably remain the case.

The law forbids any towns in the state from enacting heat safeguards for their workforce. Torres mentioned how the intense heat affected his work as a construction worker in South Florida.

Criticism About the Rule

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Critics of the rule that prevents local governments from protecting workers from heat and sun claim that Miami employs more than 325,000 people alone.

However, the governor indicated that the rule was to protect the country and avoid problems. He stated that it wasn’t a personal decision.

Lobbyists Oppose the Rule

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Business lobbyists directly oppose the heat safety regulations. Due to their influence, DeSantis signed legislation on April 11, 2024, which includes a contentious restriction on local heat safety regulations and reduces protections against child labor.

The politically influential real estate and agricultural sectors employed lobbyists to dilute and stall the developing legislation successfully.

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The Newly Signed Law

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DeSantis also signed a bill that prohibits civil policy advisory commissions from disciplining officers. Instead, citizen boards would only be permitted to recommend policies.

Encircled by law enforcement and celebrated by jubilant supporters, DeSantis signed the regulation prohibiting citizens’ oversight bodies from looking into complaints regarding police officers. 

Police Under Surveillance

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DeSantis explains how certain counties have commissioners that select activists to oversight boards and utilize them as political toolkits for the anti-police sentiment.

DeSantis stated that they can’t fabricate stories, use law enforcement as political props, or try to make it unpleasant to be a law enforcement officer. 

Disregard To Worker's Wellbeing

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The absence of heat precautions with government mandates is particularly noticeable in light of rising temperatures. While states like Minnesota and California have taken action to protect their labor force, Florida is heading in the wrong path, which might have fatal implications.

The fact that some workers experienced heat exhaustion and that no formal medical assistance was provided during these occurrences underscores the continued disregard for worker wellbeing.

ALSO READ: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Pledges to Defy Biden Administration’s Title IX Rules

Strict Regulation

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A lot of Floridians are thought to be employed as field workers. The regulation passed in Miami, the most populous county in the state, examined adopting local heat protection regulations that would have been among the strictest nationwide.

Under that idea, companies that usually give workers drinks, shade, and breaks between work hours when the temperature exceeds a predetermined level must stop. The county commissioners turned down the plan because they thought it would hurt companies.

Workers Need Protection

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The preceding year was the warmest on record for many portions of Florida, setting new records for heat waves. As a result, labor and environmental organizations denounced the regulation.

A political member claimed that the Governor opted to forsake millions of hardworking Floridians. The member also accused DeSantis of leaving the state increasingly “susceptible to the ravages of climate change instead of addressing the ballooning insurance crisis or protecting our workers.”

Activists Are Fighting Back

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Despite the defeat, activists vow to continue fighting and not give up. They condemn the state’s decision to prioritize business over the basic safety of its employees, particularly those who have been critical during previous crises.

Workers’ lives matter, but the new regulations are detrimental to their health.

Understanding the Benefits of the New Rule

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States and federal governments do not have legislation protecting outdoor workers from heat exposure.

The bill aims to give employers the power to control their business practices and guarantee the best working conditions for their staff members.

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