TALLAHASSEE -- In response to Orange County's legal fight over sick-time, the Senate is ditching a connected legislative push to nullify "living wage" laws on the books in several cities and counties.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, pushed an amendment to House Bill 655 Thursday to delete any "preemption" of what are called "living wage" ordinances adopted by Broward, Miami-Dade, Orlando and Gainesville that allow them to require government contractors to offer workers higher than the minimum-wage to employees.

The underlying bill would render moot a potential 2014 vote in Orange County over whether to require that many businesses offer paid sick-leave to workers.

More than 50,000 Orange County voters tried to place the earned sick-time measure on the ballot last year, but it was scuttled by the county commission. Afterward, a three-judge panel ordered them to put it on the 2014 ballot. But even if the sick-time ordinance passed, the bill would preempt Orange from adopting it.

Supporters in both chambers have argued the Orange fight has inspired them to at least temporarily "preempt" the "patchwork" of local government sick- and medical-leave policies in order to provide "certainty" to businesses.

Simmons' language would still require a task force to study the issue and report back next year on whether to allow local governments to adopt their own policy, or to set a uniform statewide policy for employee benefits.

"We have seen government go way too far. We have seen it happen too often," Simmons said on the floor.

But House Majority Leader Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, has so far refused to go along with the Senate's weaker language, and companies such as Walt Disney and Darden Restaurants have been pushing Precourt's version of the bill.

Senate Democrats said Thursday even Simmons' compromise -- adopting the House's broader definition of what counts as "employee benefits" -- went too far because it would block local governments in more diverse, denser populated areas from local decision-making.

"What works in one county may not work in another," said Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who was echoing the GOP argument a day earlier used to support latitude for local early voting days.

"As you showed me ... one size does not fit all for this state, and one size should not fit all when it comes to these laws."

The Senate could hold a final vote on the bill Friday. It must now head back to the House.