Florida’s reopening is on the backs of working families, Senator claims

jose javier rodriguez
Going back to work puts some in harm's way.

As all but three Florida counties enter Phase One of the state’s gradual reopening, a Senate Democrat has grave concerns.

Sen. José Javier Rodríguez sounded alarms Monday about how “working families” and small businesses will shoulder the burden of the reopening, including how testing and unemployment insurance both fall woefully short.

“The state’s economic recovery ‘plan’ looks no different than its task force composition with working families and small businesses left out while shouldering the risks of what’s to come,” the Miami-Dade Democrat declaimed.

Indeed, the task force meetings involved business interests and mostly Republican lawmakers largely workshopping roads to reopen, with labor effectively shut out of those calls along with prominent Democrats.

Despite Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly contends Florida has administered more than 400,000 tests, as the curve has flattened in most communities outside of prisons and long-term care facilities, Rodriguez doubts that testing is enough.

“How and when Florida will begin addressing the lack of adequate testing needs to be answered as a predicate to any phase of any ‘opening.’ Testing is still nowhere near where it should be, nor widely available for workplaces around the state. Moreover, employers are not required to have employees wear protective equipment as in other states,” he added, before pivoting to uncertainty faced by the hundreds of thousands of people rendered unemployed since March’s economic shutdown.

It should be noted that the current moves to reopen, described as “baby steps” in some quarters, are modest. Phase One includes limited-capacity openings of restaurants and retail businesses, with elective surgeries again allowed in hospitals.

The economy will still be in first gear, but Rodriguez also hammers the Governor for, as of now, requiring the unemployed to again have to prove, beginning Friday, that they are looking for a job.

As currently written, Phase One of the Governor’s reopening plan will not extend the past Friday executive order allowing Floridians to obtain unemployment benefits without confirming every two weeks they’re searching for work.

“Gov. DeSantis’ refusal to extend the waiver of the ‘work search’ requirement beyond May 9th means, as a condition for unemployment assistance, laid off or furloughed Floridians have to actively search for work — a perplexing proposition in hot zones where much of the service economy is still closed and employers are not required to adequately protect workers. Families who needed a bridge across this economic crisis are being cut off when they need it most,” Rodriguez asserted.

DeSantis hasn’t entirely closed the door on waiving the requirement again on a temporary basis.

Addressing Orlando reporters Saturday, DeSantis noted the original suspension of requirements was to “take stress off the system.”

While the Governor is confident in website fixes, he said he’s “fine with extending [the suspended work search requirement] if we need to.”

“If I have to waive it, I’ll waive it,” DeSantis said.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


4 comments

  • OnceADemocrat

    May 4, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Working families and small businesses are left out, because the task force doesn’t have representatives from those people? That is typical nonsense from Democrats, who would love to defeat DeSantis and get a Democrat into that position. I was in Florida, when we had a number of Democrat Governors. They were not like the new Socialist/Democrats today. The type of divisiveness that Democrats like Rodriguez is, were not part of the equation back then.

    This Senator’s statement lacks any truth or facts, since the task force is still at work. The real truth is, that Republicans today, are more like the Democrats of yesterday. They are the ones who truly reach out and help the working class and small businesses. Yes, the Republicans actually do what is needed for them, while the Democrats talk the talk, without walking te walk.

    • SANDRA OLIVA

      May 5, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      ODD THAT THE ABOVE REPUBLICAN DELIBERATELY IGNORES THE FACT THAT THE SMALL BUSINESSES THAT WERE TO BE THE RECIPIENTS OF THEIR OWN HELPFUL BILL WERE THEN DENIED THAT HELP AS THE MONEY MOSTLY WENT TO BIG BIG BUSINESS contrary to the bill AS DESIGNED!!!!

      AND ANOTHER FANTASY OF THAT LIAR: “REPUBLICANS..ACTUALLY DO WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THEM (oh YEAH! SURE THE GOP STICKS UP FOR WORKERS AND MIDDLE CLASS!!!!

      AMAZING THAT REPUBLICANS LIE DOGGEDLY LIKE THIS AND EXPECT THE REST OF US WHO ARE ACTUALLY NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY THESE MISBEGOTTEN LIES! WHAT MISERABLES THEY ARE, LIKE THIS GUY ABOVE.

      GOP HAS LONG AGO DROPPED FACTS AND SPEWS FANTASES THAT ARE MOSTLY ILLEGAL. BUT WHAT DO THEY CARE? NOT MUCH , AS THEY ARE INTENT ON LEARNING TRUMP’S LIES AS FAST AS THEY CAN TO APPEASE HIM AND BENEFIT THEM!

      MR, “GET OUTTA HERE WITH THAT BUMP DE BUMP”. MAYBE WE SHOULD JUST BE SUPER GLAD HE IS NOT IN OFFICE WITH ALL THAT POWER TO SQUELCH THOSE OF US WHO WORK HARD FOR A LIVING.

  • Sonja Fitch

    May 4, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    That is the usual from the goptrumpcult. People are disposable unless white man rich!

  • BlueHeron

    May 4, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Whether you are a resident, part-time resident, visitor or our “leadership”, there’s something about our state that warrants the description of “moron”. We’re a “colorful” bunch. It seems that not a day goes by where we are featured in various media outlets locally, statewide or at a national level. Not fake news but “moron” is a matter of opinion, I suppose.
    That said… DeSantis has proven to be a moron, ill-equipped for the job and possessing a callous indifference to what is really important. Not always in equal measure.
    Our unemployment system has caused great pain and suffering to the REAL workers in this state. Without us, Florida would be sunk. We deserve efficiency, transparency and results in getting this taken care of ASAP.
    At first, I was hopeful. It didn’t take family, friends and me long to realize that they had zero intention of paying all of those who qualify. Pay out just enough to bring hope but there is clearly no sense of urgency and never will be. Sure, the system is a clunker but, as governor, DeSantis should be far more motivated to get this fixed. He and the others of his ilk just simply don’t care.
    One thing’s for sure… we are #1 in the country for being the literal worst in the country with regard to unemployment. That makes #Floridamoron quite appropriate and well deserved.

    This is all on the Republicans from DeSantis on down. We have been “ruled” by this party forever. Dems have had zero power. So, THEY own the errors, efficiency, waste, cronyism and the “let them eat cake” attitude with regard to the citizens.
    Oh, where’s the cake? I would surely love a bite or two.
    For whatever it’s worth, I’d be saying the same thing if the Dems were in charge.

    OnceADemocrat has inferred that he is no longer a Floridian? Good for you. Also, a former Democrat. Good for you. To each his own. Good luck with that.

Comments are closed.


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