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Senate Commerce Backs Anti-Outsourcing Bill

January 14, 2013 - 6:00pm

A bill to require call center companies contracted with the state to employ U.S. workers is once again on the move in the Senate.

No companion effort has been filed in the House, which last year failed to take up the issue that approved unanimously by the entire Senate.

On Tuesday, without debate, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously supported Senate Bill 90, titled American Jobs, which would require call centers with contracts of at least $35,000 -- as well as subcontractors -- to use American workers.

Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, said the intent of the bill is to send a message that legislators are concerned about the peoples money.

Last year when this bill came up there were companies that anticipated this and saw this and began to do the right thing and move some of their call centers here, Smith said. In North Lauderdale some companies actually brought their call centers back.

Department of Labor statistics indicate that since 2009 about 7,972 Florida jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries.

The bill doesnt specify the workers have to be from Florida due to federal commerce laws, he said.

Because of the commerce clause we didnt want to get into too many legalities by limiting it to Florida, Smith said.

Smith also sponsored last year's bill, SB 678.The house companion, HB 649, failed to advance beyond its first committee review.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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