FEA: First Hearing On Constitutionality Of Florida SB 736

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January 16, 2013

By: Andy Ford – FEA President

The first hearing on our challenge to the constitutionality of SB 736 was held this afternoon in the Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee. Lawyers for both sides met before Circuit Judge John Cooper for a little more than two hours.The judge had read the written documents and arguments submitted by both sides and spend the full two hours asking questions of both sides. Tom Brooks handled most of the questions for FEA’s side of the argument, with some help from Ron Meyer. The state’s case was argued by Michael Mattimore, a Tallahassee attorney.Brooks and Meyer argued that the changes brought about by SB 736 represented substantial changes to the wages, benefits and working conditions that are covered by the state’s collective bargaining laws. Mattimore said the Legislature “tweaked” those laws and that our side “just didn’t like the tweaks.”

Judge Cooper said he would need to read all the written arguments again and may call both sides back into court if he had any other questions. His ruling isn’t expected soon and no matter what he rules, we can expect this case to be appealed, perhaps all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.

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