Equality Florida made historic progress by achieving a committee hearing on The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 45/SB 120). It was the first time a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill had such a hearing in Florida. At the time, Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, said, “This is a huge breakthrough not only for Florida but for the South and the nation as the third most populous state takes up long overdue, basic protections.”
Watch Gina Duncan of Equality Florida speak out at the hearing:
Unfortunately, 5 Senators voted to halt the bill from moving forward.
Equality Florida Issued the Following Statement:
“Today five Senators killed a bill that would have provided basic protections for Floridians regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The tie vote in yesterday’s committee left hope that today’s hearing provided one last opportunity to move the legislation forward. We are especially disappointed in Senators Brandes and Benaquisto who led the charge to kill the legislation despite the overwhelming public support, the backing of the state’s top business leaders, and the fact that local protections cover 55% of our state’s population.
Brandes’ opposition is particularly disappointing considering he lives in a county that has had these basic protections for years. Yet he couched his opposition in phony hypotheticals and irrational fears that served to dehumanize transgender people in particular. We strongly condemn the five senators who defeated the bill by using the same scare tactics and dehumanizing rhetoric so often used by anti-gay extremists.
Currently, no state law provides critical protections for LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Passage of such basic legal protections by the country’s third-largest state may seem an obvious step, but the legislature has once again shirked its responsibility to ensure fairness for LGBT Floridians.
Our work is far from over. We will continue to work at the state and local level to end the current patchwork quilt of protections.
We are grateful to the legislators who have been willing to work with us to advance this long overdue legislation. Thank you to Senator Abruzzo and Representative Raschein for their heroic efforts in pushing for this bill, and thank you to the bipartisan group of over 40 legislators in the House and Senate who have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill.
We urge the House to do the right thing and move forward the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.”
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