On the first day of 2023, a 28-year old vegetable harvester reported for his first shift on a farm in southeastern Florida’s Broward County. Later that day, having complained of fatigue and leg pain amid the 90-degree heat, the unnamed man’s body was discovered by coworkers in a drainage ditch. Several months later, as the state’s temperatures reached the highest levels ever recorded, fellow farmworker Efraín López García, age 30, met a similar fate and was found lifeless under a tree. 

Republican lawmakers are trying to make these jobs even more dangerous. Rather than viewing these deaths as cause for new workplace protections amid rising temperatures, business groups and their GOP allies are pushing legislation that would prevent communities from establishing workplace heat-exposure standards or compelling employers to abide by them. 

It’s just the latest example of Republicans trampling on local government at the behest of their corporate benefactors. But in an era of worsening extreme heat, this particular attack on workers — connected to a coordinated and well-financed effort by big business and right-wing dark money — could be more deadly than ever before.