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The Miami Herald reports that a bill has been proposed in the Florida state senate that would require employers with more than 10,000 workers in the state to spend at least nine percent of their payroll costs on health benefits, or pay the difference to a state administered health care fund.

The bill is similar to one passed in Maryland, and that was aimed specifically at Wal-Mart. Concerns have emerged in a number of states about workers who are unable to afford health care coverage and are ending up on public assistance even though they have jobs.

Meanwhile, in Washington State – where a legislative committee that was considering a bill requiring businesses with 5,000 or more employees in the state to spend at least 9 percent of their payroll costs on employee health care, or pay the difference into the state's health care fund, essentially killed the bill by failing to send it to the full House of Representatives for a vote – the governor has promised to reintroduce and pass the bill next year.

Speaking to a meeting of union groups, Gov. Chris Gregoire said, "If we didn't get it this year, we're going to get it next year. Let's work together to make it happen.”

After the meeting, Gregoire told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "There are a lot of really good employers who want this done and have reached out to me and said, 'We need to make this happen.’ We need a level playing field in the state of Washington, and we're not going to reduce our health-care benefits in order to make that a level playing field.”
KC's View:
If so-called red states start considering and passing these bills, this may gain a kind of momentum that even Wal-Mart may find difficult to fight.