2020 Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Did you know more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty? Of those, more than 260,000 are under age 5.

Join business and industry leaders as well as elected officials and community voices us as we analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s zip codes. We will also discuss best practices around the state, how they can be replicated and more. Conversations will also focus around 10 topic areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Food, Safety, Child care, Justice, Transportation and Agency-Community voice.

Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
May 19, 2020
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

To have your logo featured here, click here or contact Aaron Kinnon at AKinnon@FlFoundation.org.

America’s Highest Minimum Wage Sparks Fight in Small California City

Wall Street Journal, By Jim Carlton | July 24, 2019

EMERYVILLE, Calif.—The economy is booming in the Bay Area, but at Patatas Neighborhood Kitchen, located in this small city just north of Oakland, owner Marcos Quezada recently eliminated the dinner shift and laid off six of his 10 workers.

He struggled with the decision but felt he had no choice after Emeryville increased its hourly minimum wage in July from $15 to $16.30, the highest in the U.S. “I just didn’t see how I was going to survive it,” said Mr. Quezada, who opened the eatery in 2017.

This city of nearly 12,000 has become ground zero for a national debate over how to balance boosting wages for the lowest-paid workers and ensuring small businesses can afford to keep employing them.

Click here to read the entire Wall Street Journal article.

Bernie Sanders Campaign Responds to $15 Minimum Wage Controversy with Better Hours for Staff

Amid a pay war within his own 2020 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders will limit the amount of time his organizers can work to guarantee that no one is making less than $15 per hour — a wage the senator has demanded should be the federal minimum.

On Thursday evening, The Washington Post reported that some members of Sanders’ campaign have been lobbying to raise their wages. Field organizers say they make a salary of $36,000 annually but work 60 hours per week, which is an average of $13 per hour.

Unionized workers planned to send a letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir which read that “many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale.” Some employees, they said, had even left the campaign as a result of the low pay.

Click here to read the entire article in Newsweek.

Newsweek, By Alexandra Hutzler | July 19, 2019

Proposed Mandates Will Make Florida Less Competitive

A flurry of workplace and employment bills were filed this week – the third committee week leading up to the 2019 Legislative Session. Chief among those bills are employment regulations and mandates.

Keeping Florida’s business climate competitive means protecting the employment decisions of job creators. The Florida Chamber recognizes the importance of employers providing workplaces free of discrimination.  In this regard, the Florida Chamber supports the fair resolution of employment discrimination complaints in a timely fashion, otherwise not provided by federal law. However, we oppose any new mandate that is detrimental to the employer-employee relationship.

Below is a list of workplace and employment bills filed this week.

Employer Mandates:

Minimum Wage (HB 517- Jacquet) – Increases the minimum wage by $1 plus inflation the first year and $1.50 plus inflation until 2023, totaling $15.46 plus inflation.  Increases the minimum wage by inflation beginning in 2024.

Sexual Harassment (HB 417- Eskamani) – Requires the Florida Commission on Human Relations to establish a model sexual harassment prevention training program and requires each employer to use this training program or a program that exceeds the minimum standards in the Commission’s training program.  Sexual harassment prevention training will be required of all employees on an annual basis. No additional funding for this newly mandated program was included in the bill.

Paid Leave (HB 393- Joseph) – Requires paid family leave of up to six months for an employee after the birth of a child or placement of a child in connection with foster care or an adoption.  Employees included in this section are those that work an average of 20 or more hours a week and have been employed for at least 18 months.  The bill also requires model notice requirements and creates a cause of action with a statute of limitations of up to three years.

Salary and Wage Requests (HB 419- Joseph; SB 474- Stewart) – Prohibits an employer from requesting or relying on previous wage or salary information to interview, hire, promote, or otherwise employ an individual.  Employees can voluntarily disclose wage or salary history for negotiating wages or salary.

Social Media Privacy (HB 493- Hart) – Prohibits employers from requesting or requiring access to the social media account of an employee or prospective employee.


Prohibited Discrimination:

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:
• SB 438 – Gruters – Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the area of employment.
• SB 430 – Rouson and HB 485- Webb – Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the area of employment and from public lodging and public food service establishments.

Equal Pay (HB 419- Joseph; SB 474) – Prohibits an employer from providing a less favorable employment opportunity based on the employee’s sex or to pay a rate less than an employee of the opposite sex for substantially similar work.  Increases the statute of limitations to three years after the alleged violation and adds civil penalties.

More Legislation Impacting the Employer-Employee Relationship:

Preemption of Employment Conditions (SB 432- Gruters) – Adds to existing law that local governments cannot regulate certain conditions of employment for employers.  These conditions include, but are not limited to: preemployment screening, job classification, job responsibilities, hours of work, scheduling and schedule changes, wages, payment of wages, leave, paid or unpaid days off, and employee benefits.

Florida Commission on Human Relations (HB 283- Antone; SB 440- Rouson) – Clarifies that the statute of limitations is one year for an aggrieved person to bring a civil action under the Florida Civil Rights Act.

The Florida Chamber remains committed to protecting the employer-employee relationship and will provide regular updates as these issues progress during the 2019 Legislative Session.

Engage With Us

  1. Share this alert with your HR Manager and/or General Counsel.
  2. To learn more about how these bill will impact your business, contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com or at (850) 521-1235.
  3. Register for the Florida Chamber’s annual Legislative Fly-In, where business leaders will engage with elected officials and learn details about the upcoming Legislative Session.

Mandated Wage Proposal Secures Signatures to Trigger Supreme Court Review

A mandated wage increase launched last year by Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan has received enough required signatures to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court, according to news reports.

The proposal, Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage, if passed, would mandate wages increase by $1 in the first year – increasing at the same rate every year until reaching $15 per hour.

Right now, Florida has over 10 million workers and only 1.7 percent are earning a minimum wage while working full time. At the Florida Chamber, we believe the best thing Florida can do is help them get the job training they need so they can earn $50,000 careers.

The Florida Chamber believes in economic prosperity for all, and will work with anyone who wants to create more opportunity, while also recognizing that more lawsuits and job killing mandates have never worked and aren’t smart for Florida.

Engage With Us

Connect with Florida’s new Governor, members of the Cabinet and the Florida Legislature during the Florida Chamber’s 2019 Legislative Fly-In and Global Florida Dinner. Click here to register today.

Miami Beach Takes Wage Mandate To State Supreme Court

Following two lower court defeats, the City of Miami Beach announced it will continue efforts to force government wage mandates on job creators by taking its case to the Florida Supreme Court. In December 2016, the City of Miami Beach passed a government mandated wage increase to $10.31 per hour starting January 1, 2018, and increasing by $1.00 per year until it reaches $13.31 in 2021. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and coalition partners successfully argued that the ordinance disregarded a Florida statute that established the State of Florida to determine one consistent minimum wage for the entire state.

“TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Miami Beach wants the Florida Supreme Court to take up a battle about whether the city can move forward with a local minimum wage.

The city has filed a notice that it is appealing a December 13th decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal that struck down the local minimum wage, which was approved in 2016 and was slated to take effect in 2018.”

Read the full article here.

2018 Jobs Agenda

Preventing employment regulations and mandates will help keep Florida’s business climate competitive, and is a priority on the Florida Chamber’s 2018 Jobs Agenda. Year after year the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. We will continue protecting the employment decisions of job creators and will oppose any new mandates that are detrimental to the employer-employee relationship.

Appeals Court Strikes Down Miami Beach Minimum Wage

On December 13, the Third District Court of Appeals sided with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and struck down Miami Beach’s minimum wage ordinance. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, along with the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, challenged the Miami Beach ordinance soon after it was adopted in 2016.

The Miami Beach minimum wage increase attempted to usurp existing Florida wage law. The Florida Legislature in 2003 preempted minimum wage, requiring a single statewide standard. In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment that increased Florida’s minimum wage above the federal level. Miami Beach had attempted to mandate an increased minimum wage of $13.31 per hour by 2021 for all businesses within the city’s boundaries, citing the constitutional amendment as giving them the authority.

However, the Third District Court of Appeals ruled that the 2004 constitutional amendment did not conflict with the ability of the state to preempt minimum wage, declaring the Miami Beach ordinance invalid.

This is a victory for Florida’s business community, and serves as a proof point to other local governments that a patchwork of mandated wage regulations are against the law. Instead, the statewide minimum wage remains in effect.

The Florida Chamber encourages job creators to remain watchful of this issue. It is likely that Miami Beach will appeal this ruling to the Florida Supreme Court.

Free Markets, Not Government Mandates, Will Improve Lives of Floridians
In order to create sustainable wages, communities should invest in removing barriers and making it easier to empower entrepreneurs to grow the economic base — produce more and pay more based on markets and consumers needs. Learn more by reading the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Less Poverty, More Prosperity: Florida Fiscal Cliffs Report.

Florida’s Leading Business Associations File Suit Against Miami Beach’s Minimum Wage Ordinance

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2016

CONTACTS: FRF- James Miller | james@frf.org, (850)701-3015
Florida Chamber – Edie Ousley | eousley@flchamber.com, (850) 521-1231
FRLA – Erin Power | epower@FRLA.org, (850) 224-2550


Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce file suit stating city ordinance is in violation of state statute and will significantly burden businesses

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Three leading Florida business organizations filed suit today against the City of Miami Beach regarding a recently passed city ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $10.31/hour starting January 1, 2018, and increase it $1.00/year until it reaches $13.31 in 2021. The Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce filed the suit which states that the ordinance disregards a state statute which establishes the State of Florida will determine one consistent minimum wage for the entire state. This state statute allows for local government entities to adopt ordinances to exceed this wage for those working or contracting with the local government. The suit was filed by Charles Caulkins of the South Florida law firm Fisher Philips LLC.

“We don’t support any mandates in which local governments are dictating what private businesses should be paying their employees, as it should be up to each individual employer to determine what is fair and also helps their business remain competitive,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “This increase will certainly lead to lost jobs, as small businesses, which make up 80 percent of businesses in Florida, only have a finite amount of money to spend on salaries, and being forced to pay certain employees more, means cutting the salaries or jobs of others, or potentially closing the business altogether.”

“The Florida Chamber of Commerce is focused on creating good jobs and opportunity for everyone and, unfortunately, a patchwork of government wage regulations and mandates hurts job seekers, small businesses, and Florida,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“This unconstitutional mandate sets a dangerous precedent, threatens the strength of Florida’s businesses and increases costs to consumers. This is a critical issue that must be addressed to protect all of Florida’s employers, including the $89.1 billion hospitality industry which employs 1.2 million dedicated workers in the Sunshine State. The government shouldn’t dictate the relationship between an employer and employee. If this ordinance is upheld it could have severe, unintended consequences for employers and employees across the Sunshine State, and across the nation,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers — the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301.

FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $89.1 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.2 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 10-12, 2017 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.



WATCH: Florida Chamber President Urges Congress to Begin Breaking The Cycle of Generational Poverty Through Economic Opportunity


Read the Congressional Testimony


“The battle of this generation is between economic equality and economic opportunity – between those who believe that everyone is entitled to prosperity and those who believe everyone is entitled to the opportunity to succeed,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2016) – While voters in 11 states are casting ballots for their preferred presidential candidate today, Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce took to Capitol Hill to encourage the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources to seek ways to end generational poverty by lifting up Americans through economic opportunity instead of entitlements.

Watch the Full Testimony by Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce


Congressman Vern Buchanan asks, “What Can Florida do?”

Rep. Burton and Narain Talk Legal Reform and Attracting High-Wage Jobs

Florida Chamber-backed Representatives Rep. Colleen Burton  (R-Lakeland) and Rep. Ed Narain (D-Tampa) faced challenging primaries in their districts but overcame the competition on a platform of free enterprise principles and job growth. During this edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, we had a chance to speak to both Representatives as they reflected on their primaries.

“It was challenging, but it gave me an opportunity to make sure that my message was very clear to the voters in my area,” said Rep. Colleen Burton “I was really grateful that the Florida Chamber made a  connection with me and my message also. I felt the support from the[Florida] Chamber was invaluable.”

“I’m very proud to be here and also proud to have been supported by the Florida chamber,” said Rep. Ed Narain. “The [Florida] Chamber was extremely supportive from the very beginning of my race, which was helpful because it got the word out about the type of candidate that I was running in that seat. The [Florida] Chamber has always been about job growth and jobs creation. Our message was always simple- it’s about people, it’s not about politics it not about party affiliations- it’s about doing what’s right for the people of Florida, and particularly the people in district 61 back home. I was glad to have the support of the[Florida] Chamber and we pulled it off.”

Both Representative’s Burton and Narain went through the Florida Chamber Political Institute’s rigorous, and comprehensive Candidate Interview process- which compares the candidates’ stances on the tough issues that matter to Florida’s business community.  Both Representatives took the Florida Chamber Political Institute’s Candidate Interviews as opportunities to learn about the issues that impacted voters and job creators in Florida, and now, they advocate on behalf of their constituents on paramount issues like legal reform and attracting high-wage jobs to Florida.

Rep. Colleen Burton on Florida’s Bottom-10 Legal Climate:

“For me this is an economic development issue. It impacts businesses here in Florida and it impacts their ability to do business. It costs a lot of money and that means it costs jobs. And I’m passionate about that and passionate because it’s an economic development issues. I’m honored that leadership and others in the house who have been working on that issue for a number of years have included me in those conversations moving forward. I want to be part of a solution, I’d like to see a long term plan for how we are going to get for where we need to get and that’s an issues that always going to be important to me.”

Rep. Ed Narain on Attracting High-Wage jobs to Florida:

“My district  is one that’s suffering for jobs. We still have unemployment that is almost twice the state average.  I’m all about bringing quality jobs to the state, particularly to district 61. So the high-skill, high-wage jobs that we need to bring, in order to bring them to the state, we’ve got to have some incentives that are going to attract companies that can provide those jobs.  What we saw in years past, particularly last year, was a credit that was at $9 million and basically within a series of minutes, that credit was gone amongst the 18 companies that applied for it. So we are sponsoring  legislation that will allow us to double that credit, and … allow them to have an incentive to come here, to do research and development and create the type of jobs that we want people in the state of Florida to have- jobs that they can provide for their entire families with.”