Florida Democrats Have a Plan to Fix Our Broken Unemployment System & FDP Statements on Trump Rallies

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ICYMI: Florida Democrats Have a Plan to Fix Our Broken Unemployment System, Unlike the Florida Republicans

Last week, Florida Democratic State Legislators unveiled a plan to fix Florida’s broken unemployment system. This bill, proposed by Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez and Representative Anna Eskamani, would expand eligibility and double how many weeks unemployed workers can collect benefits — reforming Florida’s unemployment system, after years of Floridians suffering under this broken system. As the pandemic-fueled unemployment crisis persists, it is critical that jobless Floridians receive the support they need to keep their families afloat. 

Currently, Florida’s unemployment recipient rate is one of the lowest in the nation and unemployment benefits are drastically below the national average. However, Senator Rodriguez and Representative Eskamani are confident that this plan will ensure a more accessible and well-funded unemployment system. Republican state legislators have not proposed a serious plan to address this urgent issue. 

Orlando Sentinel: Florida Democrats’ unemployment reform bill would raise benefits to as much as $500 per week for 26 weeks
Caroline Glenn | October 9, 2020


  • “The proposal would undo many of the cuts that were made under Gov. Rick Scott in 2011 sought by business lobbyists wanting to lower how much their clients pay in unemployment insurance taxes.”
  • “The goal, [State Rep.] Eskamani said, is to create a system ‘that wants to help versus a system that looks for reasons to reject you.’”
  • “Floridians currently can get state unemployment for only 12 weeks, the lowest duration in the country, when the state’s unemployment rate is below 5%.”
  • “Eskamani and Rodríguez’s bill would allow applicants to collect 26 weeks no matter what the unemployment rate is.”
  • “The bill would also double the maximum amount in weekly benefits that workers can collect from $275 to $500 and the minimum amount from $32 to $100.”
  • “During the pandemic…even some Republican lawmakers…have said the amount of money the state pays out is not enough.”
  • “In 2019…only 11% of unemployed Floridians received unemployment insurance, according to the Labor Department, the sixth-lowest recipient rate in the nation.”
  • “Eskamani and Rodríguez pointed to the millions in corporate tax breaks Florida gives out as one potential source of financing.”
  • “‘We’re not naive to the deep budget challenges our state faces. However, if Florida can find $543 million to give back to the state’s largest corporations in a tax refund, we can definitely find a way to increase unemployment benefits to match the national average,’ Eskamani said, referring to the refunds Gov. Ron DeSantis approved this year.”
  • “Although there’s been bipartisan agreement that the CONNECT system, the website where residents apply for benefits from the Department of Economic Opportunity, needs to be overhauled, Rodríguez said ‘we need consensus … on the legislative reforms we’re rolling out here.’”
  • “The bill would also…require the DEO to provide at least two other ways for residents to apply for assistance in addition to the online application at floridajobs.org; eras[e] the need to backdate applications; make it so applicants can’t be denied for leaving a job because of an illness or disability…[or] having to relocate. Victims of domestic violence could also not be denied.”
  • “The bill would impose a three-week deadline for the DEO to determine if an applicant is eligible.”
  • “…said Rep. Ben Diamond…‘The idea that we’re just going to let people float in limbo indefinitely is just not fair, it’s just not right.’”

FDP Statement on Governor DeSantis at Trump’s Rally in Sanford

In response to videos of Governor DeSantis at Trump’s event last night in Sanford, mask-less and high-fiving rally-goers, Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: 

“Not only is President Trump holding a potential super spreader event at the Sanford airport this evening, but also our Governor Ron DeSantis was seen at the event, mask-less, high-fiving people, and rubbing his nose. This type of gross disregard for human life is deeply distressing from our leadership. It is unbelievable how the Republicans in Florida and President Trump refuse to take this pandemic seriously. Over 15,000 people have died from COVID in Florida alone. In this election we truly are voting for our lives.”

Statement on Trump’s Scheduled Rally in Ocala 

In response to the announcement that Donald Trump is hosting another reckless rally in Ocala, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: 

“Donald Trump can hold a campaign rally in Florida every day until November 3rd and it isn’t going to change the fact that he failed in his number one job to protect the American people and owns the worst jobs record of any president in modern American history. He can keep shouting his lies to Floridians, but we’ve already heard his excuses and we’re not buying more of his empty promises. Florida Democrats are already voting and we’re voting for Joe, a leader we can trust to tell us the truth and keep his word.”

Florida Democratic Party | 201 South Monroe Street, Suite 300, Tallahassee, FL 32301

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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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