Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo today objected to a recent claim by Senate President-elect Wilton Simpson, R-District 10, that Florida is in “good shape” and does not need the legislature to convene a special session now. Republicans in the House and Senate followed suit with all Republicans who cast a ballot voting against a special session to address state problems.
Democrats, business leaders and medical professionals have all said the pandemic has severely impacted the state and a special session is needed to address the crisis. In Florida more than 42,000 people have contracted coronavirus and over 1,800 people have died. Over one million Floridians have filed for unemployment with almost 700,000 still awaiting benefit payments. All of these problems can be addressed if the legislature comes back to work and tackles the issues facing our state.
The Florida Democratic Party chair criticized the Republican-led Senate for not addressing the inadequate and broken unemployment benefit system and assistance for small business owners including child care. Florida’s Republicans have continued to block the long-overdue expansion of Medicaid enabled by the Affordable Care Act. Florida’s unemployed receive $275 a week for 13 weeks – if they can manage to navigate the dysfunctional unemployment website.
Statement by Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo
“Republicans are pushing Florida workers to go back to work, but instead of taking their own advice — Republicans in the legislature voted NOT to go to work. And even more insulting, Wilton Simpson said legislators didn’t need to come back to work, because Florida is ‘in good shape.’ Really? Unemployment is at record levels, benefits are shockingly low and we have months of delays in benefit payments. People who lose their jobs are unable to pay for health care coverage and small business owners lack the child care needed so that parents can go back to work. The Republican legislature needs to go back to work — now.”