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Newsletter Article [State Legislative Affairs] [04/01/11]
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State Legislative Affairs

Damian Taylor, Esq. - State Legislative Affairs Director

HR Florida hosted is inaugural "Day on the Hill" event in Tallahassee, FL on February 23, 2011.  The event was inspired by SHRM's annual Employment Law and Legislative Conference held in Washington, D.C., during which SHRM educates attendees on a wide array of existing and proposed employment legislation and arranges meetings with congressional representatives to discuss the HR profession's interest in related policy.  SHRM does a fantastic job of creating opportunities for HR professionals to advocate on federal issues.  While SHRM's 50 state councils are encouraged to initiate advocacy on state policy, such efforts are often not as robust or as organized as they are on the federal level.

HR Florida has been increasingly attempting to go above and beyond the norm in regard to state legislative affairs and with "Day on the Hill" we saw another opportunity to further elevate our state law advocacy.  From what we have been informed by SHRM, we are just one of a small number of state councils that have hosted such an event in their state Capitol.  With the guidance and support of Robert Carragher,  SHRM's Government Affairs Manager, this even was a huge success.

Our goal in holding "Day on the Hill" was to introduce legislators to our organization, to inform them of the valuable resources they have in our members and to help shape the employment related legislation that so profoundly affects the HR profession and business community.  The event kicked off in Tallahassee on the evening of February 22 with a wine and cheese networking session.  The next morning close to 40 enthusiastic HR Florida representatives from most of our state chapters gathered to attend an employment law seminar featuring Robert Carragher, SHRM Governmental Affairs Manager; Mark Landreth, President of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists; and Linda Bond Edwards, a partner with Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A.

Later in the afternoon, attendees were provided another networking opportunity over lunch at the Capitol dining room, toured the Capitol grounds and met with Senate and House members to discuss legislation that will impact our workplaces.  Specifically, HR Florida chose to address the following legislation:

  • Senate Bill 518 and House Bill 691, which would required all Florida employees to participate in e-Verify
  • Senate Bill 234 and  House Bill 517, which would expand the rights of concealed weapon licenses
  • Senate Bill 728 and House Bill 7005, which would broaden the definition of misconduct that disqualifies a claimant from unemployment compensation benefits

While the fate of the pending legislation remains to be seen, the "Day on the Hill" far exceeded our expectations.  We fully expect this event to grow larger and stronger in the years to come.  We look forward to building on this great success by having chapter members schedule similar meetings with legislators in their home districts and by organizing additional events in the future.

  • According to Elaine Zamcheck, MS, GPHR, SPHR, Government Affairs Chair for the Human Resource Association of Palm Beach County, "the day in Tallahassee was great!"  After meeting with her legislators, Ms. Zamcheck reported that she was well received, that the materials provided by HR Florida made her meetings easy, and that her representative even invited her to meet with him over the summer in their home district. 

Volusia/Flagler SHRM Legislative Director
D'Lorah Hyacinth with her Representative Dorothy Hukill

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio with Day on the Hill Attendees
Stephanie Koch (L) and Ellen Donegan (R)

Day on the Hill attendees on the steps of Florida's Capitol
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