State of Florida - Enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Labor under the H.R. 748 CARES Act to help Floridians in need of unemployment funds!
This petition will be sent to the offices of Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Rick Scott for their consideration.
Honorable Governor DeSantis, Honorable Senators Rubio and Scott,
On March 27th, 2020; the U.S. Congress and President Trump passed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). It passed the senate unanimously and was passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President only 2 days later. It is clear that the urgency in which this law was passed demonstrates the gravity of the current and potential economic situation caused by the spread of COVID-19. Many local governments at the county and municipal level have enacted executive orders which force non-essential businesses to close their doors. Some of Florida's largest and most eminent employers such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Hard Rock International have stopped operations in following with the government's effort to Flatten the Curve and in the interest of public health; not to mention the orders of the local government.
Although some of these employers have continued to provide paid leave to their workers, it is unclear how long and how sustainable it would be for they to continue to do so for an extended period of time. Furthermore, many local businesses in the tourism sector - one of Florida's most important sources of revenue for its residents and local governments - are indirectly impacted by the closure of these attractions, the sudden drop in demand for tourism, and the travel restrictions being enacted around the nation and around the globe. On a press conference on March 17th, 2020, Governor DeSantis stated Floridians whom have lost their job due to this crisis need money in hand. The opportunity to do precisely that is now here in the form of the CARES Act.
Section 2104 and Section 2107 of the CARES Act detail the provision of federal funds through the Department of Labor to those Covered Individuals whom have lost their job or suffered a reduction in their income as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. Section 2104 expands unemployment assistance benefits to individuals by using federal funds which would be provided to the state of Florida in their entirety - specifically the inclusion of $600 a week in benefits for up to 4 months. Section 2107 provides these same federal "Pandemic Unemployment Assistance" benefits to those individuals which are currently not eligible for Florida Reemployment insurance benefits due to their status as Self-Employed, Independent Contractors, Business Owners or Gig Workers. Both sections indicate that only those states which enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Labor would receive these federal funds for the expansion of existing State of Florida Reemployment Insurance and provision of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to otherwise-ineligible workers. The text of the law, for reference, is below:
SEC. 2104. EMERGENCY INCREASE IN UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFITS.
(a) Federal-State Agreements.—Any State which desires to do so may enter into and participate in an agreement under this section with the Secretary of Labor (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”). Any State which is a party to an agreement under this section may, upon providing 30 days’ written notice to the Secretary, terminate such agreement.
SEC. 2107. PANDEMIC EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION.
(a) Federal-State Agreements.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Any State which desires to do so may enter into and participate in an agreement under this section with the Secretary of Labor (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”). Any State which is a party to an agreement under this section may, upon providing 30 days' written notice to the Secretary, terminate such agreement.
Congress and the President have passed this law to provide immediate economic relief and assistance to the American worker. The funds are now appropriated and approved by both the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government and will be available for states in its entirety. States which participate in the expansion of unemployment assistance and the provision of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be reimbursed for 100% of the funds they distribute by the federal government.
We, the Florida workers signing this petition, are imploring you Governor DeSantis, Senators Rubio and Scott, and any other member of government whom this topic may concern, to take all steps necessary to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Labor pursuant to Sections 2104 and 2107 of CARES Act, H.R. 748; And to create the infrastructure and hire the manpower required to process and distribute expanded Reemployment benefits and Pandemic unemployment Assistance benefits to Florida families in the interest of their economic security in this unprecedented time.
We know and we trust that you have the best interest of the Florida resident, the Florida worker, and the Florida family in mind and will act as we are petitioning you to do at this time. With your leadership and assistance, we can get through this trying time together, as a strong state and continue moving forward as we were doing prior to the coming of this, in the President's words, "Invisible Enemy". We thank you for your time and your consideration and all of your never ending work for the people of Florida.