Said Rodríguez: “It was our No. 1 issue. That was something that the Dade delegation was really flexing our muscle on.”
At the same time, Miami-Dade lawmakers worked to oppose state laws targeting local programs like Miami-Dade’s “wage theft” prevention ordinance and “living wage” mandates. Thanks to their efforts, the wage-theft bill was rewritten to explicitly exempt Miami-Dade County. It later died in the Senate.
Miami-Dade lawmakers weren’t able to deliver on a bill seeking to allow the county to levy a voter-approved half-penny sales tax. The revenue would have supported construction and maintenance projects at Miami Dade College.
Fresen, the House sponsor, said the proposal never received a hearing in the lower chamber because House Democrats demanded every bill be read in full for two days last week. The filibuster-like technique was meant as a protest over healthcare reform.
But local Democrats said it wasn’t their fault.
“The fact is, this bill should have been heard long before the last week of session,’’ Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Annette Taddeo-Goldstein said. “This is a colossal failure of leadership by Erik Fresen, who should have pushed Speaker [Will] Weatherford to hear the bill during the last two days of session, like so many other bills were.”
Still, delegation chairman Gonzalez said he was pleased by his colleagues’ overall showing.
“We were obviously on different sides on a few issues,” Gonzalez said. “But overall, it was a great year for Miami-Dade. We weren’t able to get 10 out of 10, but nine out of 10 isn’t too bad.”
Miami Herald staff writer Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.