The CLEO Institute Responds to Governor DeSantis Signing H.B. 433 to Ban Local Laws to Protect Outdoor Workers from Extreme Heat

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Raymer Maguire, Dir. of Campaigns and Policy
407-496-0546
rmaguire@cleoinstitute.org

MIAMI, FL – Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 433 into law which bans local governments from passing workplace requirements that protect workers from exposure to extreme heat.

This inhumane law states that a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or require an employer to provide heat exposure requirements. The definition of “heat exposure requirements” includes any ordinance or policy that requires employee monitoring and protection, water consumption, cooling measures, recovery periods, materials that inform employees how to protect themselves, implementation of heat trainings, or first-aid measures related to heat exposure.

The CLEO Institute is committed to educating Floridians about the dangers of climate change, including the dangers associated with exposure to rising extreme heat. The CLEO Institute’s Executive Director, Yoca Arditi-Rocha, said, “this decision is going to cost the lives of outdoor workers who are at greatest risk of heat-related illness and death. In a world that unequivocally keeps getting hotter due to global warming, why is the state government taking away the power of our local governments to protect their residents from the dangers of extreme heat exposure?

As warming gas emissions continue to rise, global temperatures will do so as well. According to the Miami-South Florida National Weather Service Forecast Office, average temperatures for 2023 were 2- 3 degrees above the 1991-2020 normal. In South Florida, there were a total of 43 days with heat advisories in effect, and 7 days with excessive heat warnings in 2023. Most locations in South Florida had anywhere from 30-50 days with at least 2 hours of heat index values of 105°F or higher, with Naples topping out at 53 days.

The CLEO Institute’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, Raymer Maguire, said, “without finalized heat safety rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and no statewide heat protections, Miami-Dade County Commissioners worked last year to protect their community by creating a local heat policy, but that kind of local governance is about to be outlawed in Florida. It’s disappointing that instead of addressing the realities of rising extreme heat, our elected leaders chose to ban local governments from requiring water breaks or first-aid measures related to heat exposure on days when it’s dangerously hot.

The CLEO Institute has sent a letter to The White House urging the Biden-Harris administration, and Department of Labor, to pass an interim U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule or to issue an executive order to protect people’s health, lives and livelihoods from the dangers of extreme heat. Federal action is needed because Florida’s H.B 433 will take effect July 1, 2024 unless “otherwise required under state or federal law.” A federal heat policy may garner bipartisan support as the Republican sponsor of H.B 433’s companion bill, Sen. Jay Turnbull, said during the legislative session that “we don’t want a patchwork of regulation.”

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About The CLEO Institute

Founded in 2010, The CLEO Institute (CLEO) exists for the sole purpose of building climate literacy and spurring climate action. As the only women-led nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Florida that is exclusively dedicated to climate change education, advocacy, and engagement, CLEO is viewed as the go-to regional source for credible, vetted climate science. The CLEO Institute is a 501(c)(3) working with communities across Florida to build climate literacy and mobilize climate action for a just, resilient future. Learn more at cleoinstitute.org.

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