Florida justices to take up firefighter pay raise fight

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed pay raises for state firefighters in 2015

File photo (iStock)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A divided Florida Supreme Court decided Thursday to take up a challenge to Gov. Rick Scott's 2015 veto of pay raises for state firefighters.

The International Association of Firefighters Local S-20 took the case to the Supreme Court last summer after the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Scott's veto of $2,000 pay raises did not violate collective-bargaining rights.

The Supreme Court issued a brief order Thursday saying it will hear the case.

But justices were divided on whether to take up the issue, with Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince in favor and justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson opposed.

The court did not immediately schedule oral arguments.

The ruling last year by the 1st District Court of Appeal found that Scott acted within his authority to veto spending items in the state budget -- and that lawmakers could have overridden the veto but did not.

The veto followed a series of events that included a bargaining impasse on a union request for $1,500 pay raises for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, according to the appeals court.

The Legislature resolved the impasse by including $2,000 raises for firefighters in budget fine print known as “proviso” language, which Scott subsequently vetoed.