Friday, November 26, 2021

Settlement Funds from Oil Spill to Help Restore FL Oyster Reefs

 


Florida News Connection

November 22, 2021

 

By: Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Storm damage, pollution and other factors - some related to climate change - are reducing the oyster population. But settlement funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill are now available to restore oyster reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts estimate the Gulf lost between four and eight billion oysters to the massive oil spill and saw a loss of reproduction in the ensuing years.

However, research scientist Ryan Gandy with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said oysters are not just living creatures, they're also habitat. So bringing them back also brings back an entire ecosystem.

"By focusing up in the Suwannee Sound area," said Gandy, "we're looking at potential building back of some of the bars or some of the oysters in the area providing resiliency to those oysters."

The oyster work is part of a nearly $100 million payout to also help restore sea turtles, marine mammals and birds. This is the first in a series of oil-spill recovery plans for the Gulf region.

Chad Hanson, science officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts, said most people appreciate oysters on the half shell at their local seafood restaurant, but don't realize the small mollusks filter up to 50 gallons of water a day - improving water quality by removing pollutants, sediment and other particles.

"So, an oyster creates a reef," said Hanson. "It's almost like a coral reef in its ecological importance. Oysters are habitat engineers, and that reef creates habitat and that habitat has a bunch of ecosystem services."

However, Hanson said the sad news is, oysters have been in massive decline over the past couple decades. Around 80 to 90 percent of oyster reefs have been lost worldwide.

But he said he hopes the almost $40 million federal and state officials have earmarked for new or improved reefs to help the shellfish reproduce and thrive, will help turn their ecosystems around.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Should You Buy an Electric Vehicle?

 FLORIDA         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
AuthorIn Search of Robin  

As we move into 2022, you're going to see more advertising for hybrids and all electric vehicles from virtually every automobile manufacturer.

Most consumers will have several questions and concerns about electrically powered vehicles as they consider a potential purchase.

These concerns center around the issues of mileage between charges (range), charging times, availability of charging stations; home installed charging options, reliability, safety, warranty, and dealer service.

Mileage

Electric motor and battery technology is evolving almost daily. Mileage, or range as it is more often referred to in electric vehicles is increasing between charges significantly. The question is, how much of the manufacturing statistics provided on those windows stickers can you believe? The short answer is we really don't know right now. What is obvious is the automobile manufacturers will attempt to make their vehicles look the best by citing the greatest range statistics.

What I suspect the consumer is going to find, is that the actual range of any electric vehicle will vary greatly depending on where it's used and how it's used.

There could be significant differences in the range of an electrically powered vehicle from a cold or cooler climate to a warmer climate. Remember that both heating and cooling will be provided by electric energy drawn from the battery pack. As you use the car's electric energy supply to control the cabin environment, it will reduce the amount of energy available to power the vehicle.

So, the point is, take those range statistics with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, you're not going to know the actual range of any electric vehicle you purchase until you have it and have driven it for some time.

Electric Vehicle Charging

The electric vehicle manufacturers are all faced by the daunting issue of providing charging stations. There is yet to develop a significant model from any of the fossil-fuel  retail providers to support a large influx of electrically powered vehicles. Right now, it's hard to make a case for the investment. However, as the number of electrically powered vehicles on our roadways grows exponentially you will begin to see charging stations deployed at what are now traditional gasoline fuel stops.

The daunting issue is using your electric vehicle on longer trips. Electric vehicles purchased for computer use around town, taking the kids to school, going grocery shopping will present few if any recharging problems if a sufficient recharging connection has been created at the home.

So, when considering the purchase of an electric vehicle you must carefully consider exactly what that vehicle is going to be used for. If your daily commute or vehicle usage is well under the vehicles estimated range, then you should have no problem keeping the vehicle sufficiently powered. Just remember, that range should be the actual range not necessarily the range on the window sticker.

Reliability

Since there are many electrically powered vehicles currently on the road, I would not expect reliability to be a significant issue from the major automotive manufacturers.

There will certainly be problems with electric vehicles just like there are with their fossil-fuel counterparts and recalls. If you are an early adopter of electrically powered cars and trucks, you must make those purchases with the fact firmly in mind that you are part of the electrically powered vehicle development process.

The only real proving ground for automobiles since the beginning of motorized transportation has been the highway and the roadway. No manufacturer honestly knows how things are going to go with any vehicle regardless of its power plant until you put it in the hands of multiple users with multiple applications and widely varying driving styles.

So, if you're early in, look to be part of that process.

Safety, Warranty, And Dealer Service

There's a lot of effort going into making electrically powered vehicles as safe as they can possibly be. However, once again until we actually get them on the road in large numbers, we're not going to know all the answers to the safety issues. From a crash, crunch, and crumple perspective, they should not vary widely from traditionally powered automobiles. From a fire, explosion perspective they present a whole new series of issues for manufacturers, users, and first responders.

I think warranty and dealer service for the electrically powered vehicle will in the near term be exceptional. In the short term, until dealer service departments get their technicians to the factory authorized schools and become proficient in dealing with the electrical portion of the vehicle, service could be a bit sketchy. Wait times at dealers for service appointments related to electrically powered vehicles could be excessive early on and in some cases problematic.

It's certainly in the interest of both the car dealership and the vehicle manufacturer to ensure that the automotive technicians working in the service department get the best and latest training on how to deal with these totally different vehicles.

I don't think this should be a major decision point as you consider buying an electric vehicle, but it should be something you should be aware of. Rolling up to your dealer with your new electric car that has some sort of minor problem, you may not be able to get in for an immediate service appointment. Just something to think about

All in all, I think the electric vehicle is a wise purchase specifically to use as a commuter vehicle to perform all those short trip commuter functions that we do every day.

It won't be long before the over the road; longer haul trip will be just another trip with charging opportunities along the way that will be sufficient to quickly recharge the battery and get you moving on down the road.

For now, that doesn't exist and that should be part of your equation as you evaluate whether or not you're going to go electric.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

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Friday, November 19, 2021

Advocates Call Build Back Better Essential for Environmental Justice

Florida News Connection

November 15, 2021

 

Trimmel Gomes

ORLANDO, Fla. - Advocates are calling on Florida's leaders to keep the momentum going after the U.N. Climate Change Summit by thinking of ways to Build Back Better in the Sunshine State.

As Congress debates President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan, which supporters say would benefit millions of Floridians with investments in children, health care and education, claim it also will advance the bipartisan infrastructure deal with more investments to reduce climate-change impacts.

Maria Revelles is the state director of Florida CHISPA, a group that works on building the power of communities of color to protect the environment. She said those communities are on the front lines.

"In the Black and Latino communities in this country," said Revelles, "I think Build Back Better is important and there has to be a sense of urgency of educating, activating and organizing our elected officials to make sure that it happens."

The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence the bill with pass the House this week. If it does, it is expected to face changes in the evenly split 50-50 Senate with Republican opposition and resistance from moderate Democrats.

Revelles said state leaders should be making sure coastal communities they are writing policies for will still exist for them to implement. She said she thinks they should move forward with Build Back Better.

"It is predicted that everything that is three feet to the level of the sea will be down under in the next 30 years," said Revelles. "That means for us Floridians that we are going to lose the Keys, we're going to lose Miami, we're going to lose all the cities in the coast of Tampa Bay."

According to the White House, the Build Back Better framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate targets - a 50% to 52% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 - in a way that creates good-paying union jobs, grows domestic industries, and advances environmental justice.

The plan also reduces housing costs and helps the nearly one in four Florida tenants not caught up on rent by increasing the number of affordable rental units.

It provided four weeks of paid family and medical leave, benefiting fully 79% of Florida's workers, as well as adding protections to immigrant Floridians.

 Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

What You Should Tell Your Kids About Electric Vehicles

 

FLORIDA  

Opinion by:  E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin  

This is the third Post in my series regarding the rapidly emerging electric vehicle.

You can catch the first two post by clicking on these links:

The Electric Vehicle an All-New Experience for The Driver, Biker, Bicyclist and Pedestrian

 Things You Need to Know About Driving Around With Electric Vehicles

All indications are the number of electric cars and trucks on our streets and roads is going to increase at a dramatic rate over the next three to five years.

As I've indicated in my previous posts, this new form of transportation is going to affect us in many ways in addition to our move away from fossil fuels.

I've taken a look at bikers, bicycles, and pedestrians in these previous posts and how the presence of electric vehicles in on our roadways, and in our parking lots is likely to affect us.

However, the impact on children may be the most significant.

Children today from somewhere between five and seven on up are aware of cars, kind of how they work, how they look, and most of all how they sound.

The old-school safety adage at the intersection “Stop Look And Listen” has probably saved more children's lives, then we can begin to imagine. The problem is the third leg of that three-legged Stool Stop, look, Listen is not going to work as well as it used to.

Children being born now, under the age of 5, will grow up riding in and being around electrically powered vehicles. It's not too big of a stretch to assume that they will adapt to their new environment of something large and dangerous moving about them that they can't hear, better than their older counterparts who rely significantly on their ability to hear something coming as well as see it coming.

Note the teenager or preteen, and the young adult, walking across the intersection cell phone in hand texting, reading text or making a call and not bothering to look either way relying mostly on their ears to alert them if something is headed in their direction.

In the world of electric vehicles, unless there are some significant changes, that is a recipe for disaster.

Younger children, who tend to learn by example are following along with less visual attention to almost everything and more audible attention than ever.

So, the question is what do you tell your children about electric vehicles? I think it first begins with an example of you yourself changing your level of awareness in walking, bike riding and maneuvering in parking lots. Leave your cell phone in your pocket, be constantly looking about, and when you see an electric vehicle point it out to your child and comment about how quiet it is.

Raising the awareness level among children and young adults as it relates to sensory perception is going to be a significant challenge. Most of us will go to almost any length to protect our children from harm; the question is how much effort will we put into training them in a new way of walking and riding their bicycles?

We're also going to need new awareness programs.

New coloring books that point out you have to look for the cars not just listen for them.

 New school safety programs that deal with watching where you're going, watching where you cross, watching where you're walking when there are cars and trucks in the same vicinity.

All of this needs to start now, not after we've had a ration of pedestrian injuries and deaths of children and adults related to electrically powered vehicles.

It may be time to start comparing that electric car as a stealth predator, not unlike the neighborhood cat who quietly sneaks up on the neighborhood squirrel, who, if not paying close attention may have an unpleasant outcome.

None of this is to say that electric vehicles are inherently bad. They certainly are not.

They are going to contribute significantly toward resolving our climate-change issues and our consumption of fossil fuels.

However, all of us are going to have to adapt to the presence of these large, quiet machines on our streets, roadways, parking lots and school pickup zones. Now is the time to start not after tragedy occurs.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

Disclosures:

 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Overcoming Politics In New Phase With Childhood COVID Vaccinations

 

Florida News Connection

By: Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Health officials are optimistic broad immunity against COVID-19 can be achieved for children, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a pediatric version of Pfizer's vaccine for kids 5-11 years old.

COVID infection rates are largely falling in the U.S., but that has been a challenge due to vaccine hesitancy.

Tiffani Helberg, vice president for communications at Community Health of South Florida, said reaching out in hard-to-reach communities and trying to gain trust is something they have been doing for more than 50 years, but things have been different with COVID.

"Of course, this is a greater challenge now as politics has been injected into this medical fight over the pandemic," Helberg observed. "But nonetheless, we have launched a full-court press to try and educate the community from the beginning."

Florida's Republican leaders have been fighting against vaccine and mask mandates. Gov. Ron DeSantis has called a special legislative session to block businesses or school districts from implementing either. Some studies link a rise in vaccine hesitancy to politicized debates around the pandemic.

Dr. Ron Yee, chief medical officer for the National Association of Community Health Centers, said it is why community health centers are so important. They have been working to build trusted relationships about COVID with people in their areas, so they can get them accurate information, and encourage them to get vaccinated.

"Not everybody is going to step up and get a vaccine right away," Yee pointed out. "There'll be some, like we saw with the adults, that immediately come in, there's going to be some that come in later, there's going to be some on the fence. And there's going to be some that start with, 'No, I don't want to get this.'"

Helberg noted since the inception, they have been tackling organic vaccine hesitancy and the ones revved up by politics through a robust community outreach plan to all of their South Florida locations.

"We also are very culturally sensitive," Helberg asserted. "All of our employees are trained in cultural sensitivity. So we understand that different cultures come with different beliefs about the vaccine, so we try and approach it different ways depending on who we're talking to."

Community Health Centers have been caring for those living in poverty and other hard-to-reach populations since the mid-1960s. To date, the centers have completed nearly 16 million vaccines.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

WELCH WINS

 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Things You Need to Know About Driving Around With Electric Vehicles

 

FLORIDA    

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin  

This is the second of a 4-part series of Posts regarding the growing presence of electric vehicles on our streets and roadways. You can check out Part 1 here: The Electric Vehicle an All-New Experience for The Driver, Biker, Bicyclist and Pedestrian

For years, the automobile industry labored under the delusion that electric vehicles had to look like something out of the future. It began with a DeLorean and the movie Back to The Future.

For some unknown reason, automobile manufacturers worldwide thought there must be a distinct styling difference between the traditional automobile and truck if they were electric.

It's taken the industry several decades to figure out that most of the automotive buying public would prefer that their electric car has the same styling characteristics as conventional automobiles.

That's all changing, and it's being driven primarily, at this point, by the Ford Motor Company. You might have caught their commercials hinting that the radical styling of electric vehicles is not going to be their approach and their electric vehicles are going to follow the design lines of their current standard fossil fuel powered vehicle offerings.

In addition, virtually every automaker of any significance in the domestic and commercial markets is now preparing to offer a growing array of traditionally styled electric vehicles premiering over the next two to four years.

Here's what this means to you as a daily driver.

As you look across the intersection at a stoplight, if the vehicle at the front of the line was an electric car, it was easy to identify by the styling. Today, that is becoming less and less the case.

You can't rely on your visual perception that the vehicle waiting to charge across the intersection is either gasoline, diesel or electrically powered.

So, what's the point you ask?

The point is this. Electric-powered vehicles perform significantly different than their fossil-fueled counterparts. First of all, as we noted in our previous Post, they are certainly much quieter, and secondly they accelerate at a much more rapid rate.

What that simply means is if you're preparing to jump into the intersection, and the electric car across the street is preparing to turn in front of you, you no longer have as much time to make the decision about whether to go forward or to remain where you're at because the electric-powered  vehicle is going to be in the middle of the intersection much more quickly than you are used to.

Another driving factor, on the highway traditionally vehicles used to come up behind you and move to the outside passing somewhat slowly as they accelerate and move into the next lane, electric vehicles will perform this passing maneuver very differently. They will often come up fast and quietly move to the outside rapidly and pass at an even higher rate of speed than you would normally anticipate.

These performance differences of faster acceleration and less noise are going to force us all to rethink our driving habits.

More caution will be required at stop lights, 4-way stops and intersections as vehicles may accelerate from the red light, stop sign or 4-way stop much more quickly than you might anticipate.

As more people drive electric vehicles, they will become very familiar with the new performance characteristics that have been put in their hands, and they are sure to use them whenever the opportunity presents.

The growing number of electric vehicles that will be joining the daily commute is going to increase at an extremely rapid rate. Even the least expensive of these electrically powered cars and trucks will have performance characteristics in terms of power and acceleration that far exceed their traditional fossil-fuel counterparts.

What this means is we are all going to need to adjust our driving habits and our process of driving observation to accommodate the performance characteristics that will allow these vehicles to start more quickly, accelerating more rapidly, running through yellow lights at a higher rate of speed.

It's time to start thinking about all these issues now.

At the accident scene, these excuses are probably not going to play out very well.

I didn't hear it coming.
I didn't think it was coming that fast.
It came across that intersection before I could get stopped.
It’s the electric car’s fault.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

Disclosures: 

Friday, November 5, 2021

PSTA Forcing Road Diets in Pinellas County As Even the Times Admits Road Diet Lane Reductions Causes More Traffic Congestion -

 

Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

The Tampa Bay Times admits that vehicle lane reductions aka Road Diets causes congestion. 

According to this Times article of October 21, 2021, a temporary lane reduction to one lane to remove an out-of-service reclaimed water pipe will cause more congestion on westbound Pasadena Ave S. The lane closure is from Matthews Road S to Sun Island Dr on Pasadena Ave S.

Of course that is true. We know that when vehicle lanes are removed for whatever reason, it causes more congestion and can cause more hazardous road conditions. 

However, the Times never sounded a similar warning about the increased traffic congestion that will result from PSTA's costly, unneeded and duplicative Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle aka the "SunRunner". The BRT boondoggle permanently eliminates valuable lanes of vehicle traffic and parking for bus only lanes on First Avenue North and South in St. Petersburg. The BRT boondoggle also permanently eliminates valuable vehicle lanes of traffic on State owned Pasadena Ave S - the main road artery through S Pasadena.

These permanent Road Diets are being implemented without one public hearing being held. Pasadena Avenue S is a State Road and the main artery through S Pasadena. S Pasadena city council and S Pasadena residents strongly OPPOSED the Road Diet but FDOT shamefully allowed the Road Diet that will increase congestion in an already congested, hazardous area right before the Corey Causeway Bridge. FDOT never held one public hearing before rubber stamping their Road Diet approval of a State owned road.

This must change....because the Transportation Planning Organizations of both Pinellas and Hillsborough have miles and miles of Road Diets throughout their transportation plans. Unbeknownst to most, the 2018 unlawful and illegal All for Transportation rail tax included funding hundreds of miles of Road Diets in Hillsborough County that would cause more congestion.

FDOT has also rubber stamped removing valuable lanes of traffic for PSTA [empty] bus only lanes on State owned Road 34th Street S between 22nd Avenue S and 54th Avenue S. About a half dozen or more large towering new apartment complexes with large parking garages for vehicles, have recently opened or are about to open along this route with more coming. Obviously, those moving to these new towering complexes are bring their vehicles and are not expected to ride PSTA's buses.

Again, no public hearing was held about the 34th St S Road Diet and it is being done under the radar of an FDOT repaving project. Everyone the Eye has spoken to who live nearby this planned Road Diet in Pinellas County knew nothing about it....and they are appalled. 

We need to stop the Road Diet agenda in fast growing Tampa Bay and Florida. We need very very strict criteria before any Road Diet is proposed by any jurisdiction.

Reform is needed ASAP. The State must start requiring at least 1, if not 2, public hearings held in every jurisdiction where a Road Diet is being proposed BEFORE any decision is made to implement any Road Diet. Those impacted by the Road Diets have a right to be publicly heard in front of the decision makers before any vehicle lane that taxpayers have paid for and have been paying to maintain is removed.

We have posted many many times about PSTA's costly, unneeded and duplicative Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle aka the "SunRunner". This BRT boondoggle will run from downtown St. Petersburg through S Pasadena to St. Pete Beach - duplicating an existing bus route that does not go away with the new costly service. Simply search on the Eye for "PSTA Central Avenue BRT" to find those posts.

Residents of S Pasadena and St. Pete Beach told PSTA directly they opposed the BRT boondoggle and Road Diets. The cities of S Pasadena and St. Pete Beach formally OPPOSED the BRT boondoggle passing Resolutions unanimously in opposition. They were all ignored by PSTA, the governing PSTA Board, the Pinellas transportation planning organization "Forward Pinellas" and FDOT. 

PSTA's governing board, comprised of all elected officials except for 2 citizen members, has been covering for PSTA's fiscal mismanagement, incompetence and malfeasance for years. 

PSTA's CEO Brad Miller was caught misusing Federal transit security funds on electioneering activities for PSTA's Greenlight Pinellas rail tax boondoggle in 2014. Miller was forced to return to the Feds over $300K of the federal funds PSTA was caught misusing on campaign activities. 

Instead of doing the responsible thing and firing Miller, the PSTA Board kept him. While PSTA's ridership has crashed and tanked, the PSTA Board has continued to give Miller pay raises for years since. This is malfeasance, a display of unaccountability and fiscal irresponsibility by the PSTA Board.

PSTA clearly stated in their federal grant request to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) they cannot operate the BRT boondoggle without a new funding source. In other words, operating the BRT boondoggle will bankrupt PSTA without new funding.


PSTA's grant request to FTA stating PSTA
needs new funding to operate their BRT boondoggle as
their operating expenses escalate


PSTA ridership was always anemic before the pandemic. Post-pandemic ridership has tanked even more as people prefer the safety and security of individual vehicles. The BRT Boondoggle drastically increases PSTA's operating expenses as PSTA ridership tanks. PSTA and the PSTA Board knew this....they don't care. 

H/T to Tom Rask for pointing out: 

"PSTA's own numbers show that "paying passenger" bus trips are now 46% lower than they were for FY 2015. As you can see [below], the passenger collapse continues as we speak, with this September having 25.3% percent fewer passengers than September last year."


More malfeasance from PSTA when they lied to the FTA that the city of St. Pete Beach was contributing $1.5M to the BRT boondoggle. St. Pete Beach OPPOSED the BRT boondoggle and never agreed to contribute a penny. 

And more malfeasance from PSTA in 2017 when the PSTA Board voted only to approve a route alignment of the BRT boondoggle that ended at 75th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard. But PSTA lied to the FTA that the BRT boondoggle route was ending at the Don Cesar on Gulf Blvd. 

Today's lessons are:

Stop the current Road Diet agenda that is causing more traffic congestion....even the Times admits lane reductions increases congestion. 

Don't Trust PSTA! 

No taxpayer bailouts for fiscally mismanaged PSTA.

If the Times can report warnings about increased traffic congestion from "temporary" lane reductions, the Times can warn the public about increased traffic congestion from "permanent" lane reductions.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 12:15 PM 

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

 

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

 

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

FL Unions: Pulling Out of OSHA Would Risk Health, Safety of Millions

 


Florida News Connection

November 1, 2021

By: Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Ron DeSantis' newest battle with the Biden administration involves dropping Florida out of the nation's workplace-safety agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In the governor's official call for a special session, he wants "the State to evaluate whether it should assert jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues for government and private employees." In other words, lawmakers will discuss whether the state should create its own agency to replace OSHA.

Theresa King, president of the Florida Building and Construction Trade Council, said federal protections are life-saving for her industry and should not be tampered with to win political pointed.

"It would totally disrupt the safety mechanisms that are in place, that are known, that we have in the construction industry and with the clients that we work for when we go onto their property to work," King asserted.

The controversy is an offshoot of Biden's call for OSHA to require employers with 100 or more workers to implement a COVID-19 vaccine-or-weekly-testing mandate, but the proposal is still under review by the White House. Florida's special session is scheduled for Nov. 15-19.

According to OSHA, there are currently 22 State Plans covering both private-sector and state and local government workers.

Dr. Rich Templin, director of politics and public policy for the Florida AFL-CIO, which represents more than 1 million union members, retirees, and their families in the state, said Florida's history of eliminating its own Department of Labor 20 years ago already reduced protections for public-sector workers.

"For the same state government to now say they want to pull everybody else in Florida out of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that's terrifying because they've already shown that they have no interest and no commitment to put something in its place," Templin argued.

Templin stressed such a massive change should require all stakeholders to have a say in the process.

Republican leaders contend Florida having its own agency could limit what they see as federal-government overreach. However, any state worker safety plan must still get OSHA approval, a process that could take years beyond the current political fight.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.