TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A Florida House committee approved a bill Thursday that would prevent local governments and voters from setting local minimum wages, setting policies on items like earned sick leave, and bar preference for local government contracts based on wages or compensation.

The bill would strip the power of voters and local governments to control the businesses in the area and give all of the power to Tallahassee.

The measure is also a clash between employers and unions and those for increased benefits for the workers. Opponents of the measure say that the state should leave local governments alone, especially if the Legislature won’t strengthen protections for workers on its own.

“We think it is wrong for Tallahassee to intervene in a situation where the community came together, found a local solution, and wants the chance to vote on something,” said Stephanie K. Porta of Organize Now for Florida’s Future.

Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, said the Legislature was poorly positioned to handle the issue, which he said should be left to cities and counties.

“We come to the issue really of, who knows the local communities best? And the reality is it’s not us in Tallahassee,” he said.

But House Majority Leader Steve Precourt, the Orlando Republican who sponsored the bill, stressed the need for consistency and brushed away the idea that voters’ voices wouldn’t be heard.

“We’re saying let the voters speak, but on a statewide issue the voters need to speak at a statewide level,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)


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