Equality Florida Institute Receives $50,000 Rockefeller Grant for Voter Education and Mobilization

(August 9, 2012) Equality Florida Institute announced today that the Rockefeller Family Fund has named them recipients of a $50,000 grant. The money will support efforts to secure LGBT-inclusive employment benefits in Orange County. Equality Florida Institute is part of a coalition-led effort to require employers to provide a basic number of sick days for full time employees. 

“Equality Florida Institute is committed to securing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians to be able to protect their families,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of the Equality Florida Institute.  “The Earned Sick Time initiative will offer unprecedented protections for workers in Orange County to be able to care for their family members and still keep their jobs in these tough economic times.  Once enacted, this policy will expand upon existing protections for domestic partners.”

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

[Citizens for a Greater Orange County Press Release]

“We made it!” – Earned Sick Time campaign turns in final petitions to appear on November ballot

ORLANDO – The Earned Sick Time campaign announced today they have completed their petition drive and turned in the requisite petitions to the Supervisor of Elections. Now it’s up to the County Commission.

“We made it! I am so proud that our community has rallied around this cause," said Julie Norris, a small business owner in Orange County. “Earned Sick Time will keep our community and economy healthy and strong by allowing people to tend to their health needs and save businesses money at the same time.”

Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles is still processing the petitions but the Earned Sick Time campaign has turned enough petitions in to trigger the County Commission to schedule a hearing to either make Earned Sick Time the law of the land or refer the question to voters to decide in November.

The Earned Sick Time effort has been gaining steam and riding a wave of good news in recent weeks with a new report showing the initiative would save Orange County millions, a public opinion poll showing strong support among voters and Mayor Teresa Jacobs sounding more encouraging than ever that the initiative will appear on the November ballot.

A new report out from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds a net savings for Orange County employers of $5.1 million annually if the Earned Sick Time initiative is passed. Benefits to workers and their families as a result of improved ability to care for sick relatives and reduced flu contagion are estimated at $282,883 annually. An annual reduction of $7.3 million in health care costs is predicted from reduced emergency department usage and prevented norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes. In total, the proposed ballot initiative is expected to have a net benefit of $12.7 million annually.

What’s more, evidence is coming in about the positive impacts of Earned Sick Time policies across the country. In Connecticut, the nation’s first statewide paid sick days law went into effect on January 1, 2012. Economic data from the state affirms findings from San Francisco where a paid sick days law has been in effect for five years and where they have seen an increase in the number of small and large businesses and experienced stronger growth than in the surrounding five counties with no paid sick leave laws. Private sector job growth in Connecticut since the paid sick days bill's passage is +13,000.[1] More specifically, Connecticut has seen substantial job growth (and record employment) in the sectors most impacted by the paid sick days law. Leisure and hospitality employment in the state are at an all time high, with 2,600 more jobs than June 2011.[2] Education and health employment are also at an all time high, with 11,700 more jobs than in June 2011.[3]

According to a new public opinion poll, more than two thirds of Orange County voters support the Earned Sick Time initiative. After hearing the initiative language that will appear on the ballot, 67% support the initiative and just 26% oppose it. Earned Sick Time enjoys strong support among Independents (68% Yes – 25% No), white women (70% Yes – 27% No), white voters under age 35 (80% Yes – 18% No), and communities of color (African Americans are 88% Yes – 6% No; Hispanics are 82% Yes – 13% No.)

“Today, we’re delivering information packets on the Earned Sick Time initiative requested by the County Commission for their review at their August 28th meeting,” said Marlon Washington, chair of Citizens for a Greater Orange County. “We look forward to sharing with commissioners this data on the benefits Earned Sick Time will provide for Orange County’s economy, business owners and hardworking families.”

Pd. Pol. Adv. Paid for by Citizens for a Greater Orange County
P.O. Box 533473, Orlando, FL 32853

[1] Source: CT Department of Labor http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/ces/nfstatcm.asp
[2] Source: CT Department of Labor http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/secEmp.asp#map8
[3] Source: CT Department of Labor http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/secEmp.asp#map8


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