Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Register
Legislative Affairs
 Legislative Updates

SHRM Jacksonville’s Legislative Committee is tasked with keeping Chapter membership and the First Coast community at large abreast of changes in federal, state, and local labor and employment laws.  Given that labor and employment law is created and changed by statutes, ordinances, agency rules and decisions, and rulings from federal and state courts, compliance for HR professionals is more difficult than ever.  Let your SHRM Jacksonville Legislative Committee serve as a resource to help guide you through the maze of today’s labor and employment laws.

Articles below:

  • "SHRM Jacksonville Represents at the Day on the Hill" - provided by Lindsay Dennis Swiger, Holland & Knight, LLP
  • "Are You Ready for the H1-B Lottery? "- provided by Giselle Carson, Marks Gray, P.A.

Past Articles (click link):

For more information or to volunteer with the Legislative Committee, email Lindsay Swiger, Legislative Affairs Director, at 

 Legal Matters

Lindsay Dennis Swiger



Holland & Knight, LLP

50 North Laura Street
Suite 3900
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Tel. 904.798.5413

Click here for Lindsay's bio






SHRM Jacksonville

Represents at the Day on the Hill

by Lindsay Dennis Swiger, Holland & Knight, LLP

On January 24-25, 2018, approximately 70 members of SHRM chapters from across the state of Florida met in Tallahassee for the HR Florida Legislative Conference and Day on the Hill. SHRM Jacksonville was represented by Immediate Past President, Chad Sorenson, and Government Affairs Director, Lindsay Swiger.

Participants attended a half-day seminar to prepare for meeting with their state legislators to address key HR issues pending before the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. Patrick Brady, Senior Advisor, Government Relations, SHRM, gave a very informative presentation on SHRM’s national legislative affairs agenda, proposed legislation on paid leave for all American workers, and the status of congressional and executive priorities at the federal level. In addition, participants engaged in a robust and engaging discussion on various bills pending before the Florida Legislature relating to employment and labor laws of particular interest to Florida’s employers. From these discussions, the group developed HR Florida’s position on the bills, which address topics as diverse as increases to the minimum wage, expanding protection from discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and “Ban-the-Box” bills to restrict criminal background screening of job applicants.

The following day, the HR Florida Legislative Conference attendees converged on the Capitol and directly petitioned their representatives and senators on the bills of interest to the participants. We spread the word that HR Florida represents 28 Florida SHRM Chapters and over 14,000 SHRM members in Florida. In particular, Chad and Lindsay met with the Legislative Aide to Representative Cyndi Stevenson, as well as other legislative aides to northeast Florida’s senators and representatives, to present HR Florida’s position on these important legislative matters. Over the course of the day, conference participants met with legislators from across the state of Florida and presented a unified and informed voice on current HR issues.

Coincidentally, while HR Florida was in Tallahassee for the Day on the Hill, the Florida House of Representatives took up debate on a bill which would require labor organizations registering with the state as a representative of a bargaining unit in the public sector to provide information regarding the percentage of its members who pay dues. If the percentage drops below 50%, the labor organization would then be required to petition the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) for recertification as the representative of the bargaining unit. Organizations failing to comply may have their certification revoked. After much debate, the House of Representatives voted to pass the bill. The bill remains pending before the Florida Senate.




Are You Ready for the H1-B Lottery?

by Giselle Carson, Business Immigration Attorney with Marks Gray, P.A.

The first Monday in April, the filing period for cap-subject H-1Bs begins. The demand for H-1Bs continues to be high, so many employers and employees have questions about what to expect. Below are some essential things to know. 

What is the H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is designed for foreign workers who will be employed in a professional occupation that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and specialized knowledge.

How many H-1B visas are available?
There is an annual limit of 85,000 cap-subject H-1B visas available, which includes 65,000 visas for foreign nationals holding a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and 20,000 for those holding U.S. advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree.

When can I file for cap-subject H-1B visas?
USCIS’ fiscal year (FY) runs from October 1st to September 30th. H-1B petitions can only be filed within six months of the employment start date.

The filing period begins the first Monday in April. USCIS typically accepts H-1B cap-subject petitions for the first five business days. Because of the very short filing period and the considerable work required before filing, particularly this year, it is very important to start early to prepare a strong H-1B petition.

Will there be a lottery for H-1B visas?
For the past several years, demand has far exceeded the H-1B cap. In 2017, 199,000 new cap-subject H-1B petitions were filed. In 2016, 236,000 were filed. In 2015, 233,000 petitions were filed. And, a lottery is expected this year also.

How does the lottery work?
USCIS conducts an electronic random lottery of the 20,000 advanced-degree petitions. Unselected petitions from the advanced-degree lottery are added to the lottery process for the 65,000 general H-1B visas.

About two months after the lottery is completed, USCIS begins returning the unselected petitions along with the filing fees.

What happens if my petition is selected?
About four weeks after the completion of the lottery, USCIS will begin issuing receipt notices for the selected petitions. Those petitions filed using premium processing service will be processed first and receive the first notices.

Who should consider applying for an H-1B visa?
Foreign students in the U.S. in F-1 status who have received their degree. Professionals abroad seeking to come and work in the United States.
Foreign nationals in the U.S. in other valid status, such as H-4, L-1, TN, E-3, E-1/E-2, and P-1s.

Employers should work promptly with an experienced, knowledgeable and energetic immigration counsel to prepare these filings.


Giselle Carson, Esq.



Marks Gray, P. A

1200 Riverplace Boulevard
Suite 800
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
Tel: 904.398.0900

Click here for Giselle’s bio.