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Rep. Loranne Ausley, Sen. Bill Montford, Rep. Ramon Alexander

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Lawmakers ask for clarification on which state employees should work from home

Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously left the decision up to individual agencies.

Tallahassee lawmakers called on Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday to issue an executive order clarifying which state employees should stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Previously, he has asked state agencies to close offices and branches when possible. But he has left that discretion, and specifically which employees are essential to work from the office, up to individual agencies.

“In the past several weeks, while you have asked, and in some cases required, people to stay at home, your own employees have not received a clear directive from your office,” wrote Democratic Reps. Ramon Alexander and Loranne Ausley.

Florida has nearly 100,000 state employees, the largest concentration of whom live and work in the two lawmakers’ districts, which encompass the capital city.

Some state employees have complained that they are not allowed to work home when they would like to.

“For those employees who must leave home to go to work, we ask that you do everything possible to ensure their safety by strictly enforcing social distancing requirements at every workplace and ensuring that all CDC guidelines are met including an adequate supply of soap, hand sanitizer and PPE [personal protective equipment] if appropriate,” they said.

Both lawmakers noted the 6,955 positive cases reported in Florida at the time they drafted the letter. As of the evening, officials have confirmed 7,773 cases and 101 deaths.

“Thank you Representative Ausley and Representative Alexander for always advocating for State employees,” said AFSCME Florida President Vicki Hall in a statement. “With each day that passes the confusion within the state workforce grows — we too look forward to receiving clarity from the Governor.”

Earlier Wednesday, DeSantis issued a safer-at-home order for the entire state after resisting calls to make the decision. He cited President Donald Trump‘s 30-day extension of the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” as an indication he should give the order.

Written By

Renzo Downey covers the Florida Legislature for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at renzo@floridapolitics.com and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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