Proposal to pay baseball players less than minimum wage narrowly advances in Florida Senate

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Usually when people think of professional athletes, they imagine multi-million dollar paychecks.

However, Republican Representative Jonathan Martin of Fort Myers proposed in Senate Bill 892 that Minor League Baseball players in Florida shouldn’t be required to get paid minimum wage.

“There’s a lot of costs that the individual players are not required to make, that are being paid for them by the ball club and other forms of compensation besides minimum wage.”

Martin argued that the minor leagues should be seen as a “training camp” and players can find other ways to make money if needed.

Several members of the public opposed the bill during the meeting, including Rich Templin, a lobbyist for a group of labor unions. He argues that the MLB has been contacting legislators to gain support of the bill.

“This legislation is 100% the product of Major League Baseball because in these ongoing negotiations, they want to have this carve-out from Florida’s constitutionally protected minimum wage to make negotiations easier on them.”

Republican Senator Ed Hooper supports the bill. He’s from Clearwater, home of a Spring Training site that also hosts a minor league team.

“The facilities that in Clearwater that the Philadelphia Phillies offer for housing, for food, for transportation, for workout facilities, for healthcare opportunities would be unimaginable in the country that 99% of these players come from.”

The bill narrowly advanced on a 4-3 vote along party lines.