February 26, 2024

Testimony on SB 1492 Before the Florida Senate Rules Committee

The testimony below was provided during the Florida Senate Rules Committee meeting on Senate Bill (SB) 1492, legislation that would preempt local governments from requiring their subcontractors to have heat exposure prevention measures for outdoor employees.

Heat exposure is a deadly problem in a subtropical state like Florida, especially coming off our hottest summer on record. Not only does it impact agricultural workers, who are disproportionately immigrants, but also construction workers and youth working at outdoor entertainment venues, like theme parks. 

The federal government does not have a heat exposure prevention requirement (OSHA just started the process of putting one in place which could take years). So if you undermine what local governments are calling for, there will be virtually no protections at any level of government--local, state, or federal.

Also, SB 1492 applies the term “heat exposure requirement” too broadly — it states local governments can’t even ask their vendors to have a poster up about heat exposure or offer trainings for their employees. Both would count as a “requirement” and would not be allowed, if this bill passes. Sharing information (via flyers/posters and trainings) and requiring actions on heat exposure are very different things — taking these options away from local governments further erodes their contract-negotiating power, which is needed to pursue what’s in the best interest for their communities.

Finally, there has been legislation to merely offer (not require or enforce) training on the topic of heat exposure statewide (introduced this session and several prior) — it hasn’t moved. Multiple policy solutions deserve consideration, not just what one set of stakeholders want.

Thus, I urge you to consider the broad personal and economic harms SB 1492 would bring about and vote NO.

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