Desantis Bans Local Governments From Protecting Workers From Heat And Limits Police Oversight Boards

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is seeing two more recent instances of state government under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis limiting the powers of local government with newly-signed bills that deal with worker safety and police oversight.

A bill signed Thursday bans local governments from requiring heat and water breaks for outdoor workers. And a bill DeSantis signed Friday strips local citizen police oversight boards from investigating officers.


In a bill DeSantis signed Thursday, Florida, one of the hottest states in the country, local governments will be banned from requiring heat and water breaks for outdoor workers.

It was a direct response to Miami-Dade County’s effort to require shade and water for construction, farm and other outdoor workers.

But in a state where construction and farming are huge industries — Miami-Dade estimates more than 325,000 workers in that county alone — critics lambasted the bill that keeps local government from protecting workers from heat and sun. Democratic state Sen. Victor Torres called the new law an attack on workers.

Asked about the bill Friday, DeSantis said it was an issue raised by Miami-Dade County lawmakers.

“It really wasn’t anything that was coming from me. There was a lot of concern out of one county — Miami-Dade,” DeSantis said. “They were pursuing what was going to cause a lot of problems down there.”

But the law will now keep Florida’s 66 other counties from requiring similar worker protections.


Separately, DeSantis signed a bill Friday that would ban local policy advisory commissions from initiating disciplinary actions against officers, instead limiting the citizens boards to making recommendations on policy. DeSantis was surrounded by law enforcement officers and in front of cheering supporters as he signed the bill to ban citizens oversight boards from investigating complaints about police officers.

DeSantis said some counties have commissioners that appoint activists to oversight boards and use them as a political weapons for an anti-police agenda.

“They're not free to use law enforcement as political pinatas, they're not free to create false narratives, they're not free to try to make it miserable to work in uniform,” DeSantis said. “They are not able to initiate disciplinary proceedings. We have other ways to do that.”

The law also requires the oversight boards to be appointed by and under the direction of sheriff's and police chiefs. At least one member of oversight boards must be a retired law enforcement officer.