2023 Equality Florida Legislative Slate
2023 Equality Florida Legislative Slate
(Last Updated: March 8, 2023)
EDUCATION AND SCHOOLS
Supporting learning environments that value free thought, accurate information, critical thinking, and open communication are essential to student success. We also know that people are coming out at increasingly younger ages, and school is often one of the first places they do so. Safe and affirming schools where every student is protected and every family is respected are a key component of realizing full equality in Florida.
OPPOSE HB 1223/SB 1320: Florida’s notorious and cruel Don’t Say LGBTQ law has already made classrooms more hostile for LGBTQ youth, led to book bans across the state, driven frustrated teachers out of the profession, and is causing LGBTQ families to leave Florida. “Don’t Say LGBTQ” Expansion will only worsen these impacts, stretching them to eighth grade, and prohibiting schools from using inclusive pronouns. LGBTQ families and people are a normal and healthy part of our society; having an education system that denies their existence is absurd and deeply offensive. The legislature is playing politics with Floridians’ basic humanity. Sponsors are Rep. Anderson and Sen. Yarborough.
OPPOSE HB 1069: The Regressive Education bill promotes book banning, a state power grab, and antiquated, harmful gender roles. It expands book bans by allowing anyone in the county to object to school materials because they “depict or describe sexual conduct.” It removes local School District discretion over sex-ed in favor of state level mandates by the Department of Education. The bill narrowly defines “sex” and bans teaching about HIV, STDs, and sex-ed before 6th grade. It denies the existence of LGBTQ people, intersex people, and even IVF technology by insisting that “reproductive roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable.” Sponsor is Rep. McClain.
OPPOSE HB 999/SB 266: The MAGA Takeover of Higher Education Bill is the epitome of censorship. It bans universities from offering any courses related to women and gender studies, critical race theory or intersectionality, and effectively undoes the tenure system and its academic freedom. It also shifts all university faculty hiring to Boards of Trustees stacked with political appointees, and bans considering diversity or equity in hiring or promotion. Any programs or campus activities that support diversity, equity, and inclusion or critical race theory are defunded– threatening every state university's LGBTQ support programs. Sponsors are Rep. Andrade and Sen. Grall.
OPPOSE HB 31/SB 94: The Partisan Elections for School Board Members resolution seeks to make Florida school board elections partisan. School Boards have been nonpartisan since 1998. Now they are under fire, targeted by extremists for putting children’s needs and safety first. School Boards should be about student success – not partisan battlefields. Sponsors are Rep. Roach and Sen. Gruters.
HEALTH & REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM
The freedom to determine our own healthcare–including gender-affirming care, access to abortion, and HIV prevention and treatment–is crucial to our fight for LGBTQ equality. These are highly personal and familial public health decisions, not political ones.
OPPOSE SB 254: The outrageously overreaching Criminalizing Gender Affirming Care Bill attacks the parents of transgender youth and providers of healthcare, threatening criminal sentences for helping transgender youth access lifesaving care. It dramatically restructures Florida law on parental custody disputes and effectively treats parents seeking affirming care for transgender youth as child abusers. It empowers the government to remove children from an affirming parent by favoring custody for a parent or guardian who is unsupportive of gender-affirming care. This is about extremist politics, not well-being. Sponsor is Sen. Yarborough.
OPPOSE HB 1421: The Trans Ban Bill is a sweeping assault on the lives and medical freedom of transgender Floridians by denying them legal recognition via birth certificates, denying all gender-affirming care to minors and dramatically reducing access to gender-affirming care for adults, denying insurance coverage to the extent care is available, and revoking licensure for providers who provide gender-affirming care without government approval. This is a direct assault on medical freedom. Sponsor is Rep. Fine.
OPPOSE HB 7/SB 300: The 6 Week Abortion Ban is a near-total ban, prohibiting access to abortion care before many even know they are pregnant. This comes after the legislature passed a 15-week ban last year that Floridians and their providers are still struggling to navigate. The bill also provides anti-abortion fake clinics $25 million from taxpayer money. LGBTQ rights are reproductive rights, and politicians shouldn’t be making decisions about people’s health care. Sponsors are Rep. Persons-Mullika and Sen. Grall.
OPPOSE HB 1403/SB 1580: No one should be denied critical medical care, but the “License to Discriminate in Healthcare” bill (so-called “Medical Conscience” bill) would allow healthcare providers and insurers to deny a patient care on the basis of religious, moral, or ethical beliefs. It creates a license to discriminate by allowing healthcare employers to discriminate in hiring, and it bars medical Boards from disciplining doctors for spreading misinformation. It prioritizes personal beliefs over patient well-being. Sponsors are Rep. Rudman and Sen. Trumbull.
OPPOSE HB 1265/SB 952:Anyone experiencing gender dysphoria deserves support, and the Undermining Employer Coverage of Gender Dysphoria bill (the so-called "Reverse Woke Act") is a bad faith attempt to deny that. It discourages employers from offering insurance coverage for gender-affirming care by burdening employers with an unlimited financial liability. Supportive employers would be responsible for the cost of any employees’ detransition care forever, no matter the cost and even if they are no longer employed by that business. Sponsors are Rep. Yarkosky and Sen. Ingoglia.
SUPPORT HB 963/SB 818 & SB 416: There have been tremendous advances in fighting HIV and AIDS, and the PrEP & PEP Access bill facilitates access to medication critical to preventing HIV transmission. The legislation allows people to take personal responsibility for their health, thereby improving public health and moving Florida toward ending the HIV epidemic. Sponsors are Rep. Franklin, Sen. Jones, and Sen. Osgood.
SUPPORT HB 907/SB 894: The Health Care Transparency Act requires hospitals and health care institutions to disclose to patients in advance any services they refuse to provide for nonmedical reasons and to inform the Department of Health. This empowers patients to make better decisions about where to seek health care, free from judgment and discrimination. Sponsors are Rep. Harris and Sen. Torres.
SUPPORT HB 1033/SB 1076: Comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including access to abortion, is fundamental to personal health, privacy, and equality. The Reproductive Healthcare Protection Act repeals Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, guarantees a person’s right to access such care, and prohibits denying a citizen’s exercise of their fundamental privacy rights with respect to personal reproductive health decisions. Sponsors are Rep. Harris and Sen. Berman.
OTHER LGBTQ EQUALITY
OPPOSE HB 1521/SB 1674: Transgender people are part of our families, workplaces, and our neighborhoods, and they need to be able to use the restroom just like everyone else. The Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that matches the gender they live every day. The bill prohibits gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities in schools, private businesses, public shelters, healthcare facilities, and jails. This kind of law makes it impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like other people—and it opens the door to abuse, mistreatment, and more. Sponsors are Rep. Plakon and Sen. Grall.
OPPOSE HB 1423/SB 1438: Live performance art, including drag, is a form of freedom of expression that can educate, empower, and entertain. Florida law already prohibits exposing minors to shows considered sexually explicit or harmful, but the discriminatory and unnecessary Anti-Drag Bill expands state law to include vague language that can be used to attack our drag community. It threatens venues that host drag performances with steep fines and injects the government into a parent's right to determine what art and entertainment content is appropriate for their own children. Sponsors are Rep. Fine and Sen. Yarborough.
OPPOSE HB 1011/SB 668:Flags have historically been used to connect communities in an exercise of free speech. The Flag Ban Bills ban the use of any flag other than the American, Florida, POW, or Firefighter Memorial flags from public buildings and are one more part of the Ron DeSantis agenda of censorship. Born largely from far-right activists protesting LGBTQ pride flags on government buildings, these bans attack visibility in public spaces and classrooms for all minority groups. From a pride flag in the Surfside City Hall to a Buccaneers flag over Tampa City Hall, these radical censorship bills restrict the messages of support our public spaces can exhibit. Sponsors are Rep. Borrero and Sen. Collins.
SUPPORT HB 219/SB 80: With the recent passage of the federal Respect for Marriage Act, the Florida Legislature must now Repeal the Marriage Ban by deleting the outdated, patently unconstitutional statute that bans recognizing same-sex marriage. It devalues our hard-won marriage rights. 70% of Floridians who registered to vote since Nov. 2020 support protecting legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Sponsors are Rep. Rayner and Sen. Polsky.
OPPOSE HB 1319/SB 1382: The Resolution Opposing LGBTQ Service Members is deeply offensive to minority members–including LGBTQ members–of the United States armed forces who are putting their lives on the line. It questions their skill and devalues their dedication by virtue of their being minorities, suggesting that they do not meet the standards of fitness for service. Sponsors are Rep. Gregory and Sen. Collins.
SUPPORT HB 163/SB 874: Government records should be accurate and respectful. The Gender Marker Update would allow for driver's license or ID cards to provide for male, female, or nonbinary gender designation. Sponsors are Rep. Arrington and Sen. Torres.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PROTECTING DEMOCRACY
Equality Florida’s theory of change rests on the notion that changing hearts and minds can change laws. That system requires a fair and functioning democracy free from censorship, government overreach, and authoritarian power-grabs. Thus, we work to ensure a free democratic process that protects everyone and treats everyone with respect.
OPPOSE HB 991/SB 1220: The Defamation Censorship bill is part of Governor DeSantis's effort to chill any free speech that is critical of the government, punish the media, and reverse Supreme Court precedent. The bill makes it easier to sue media or members of the public over criticism of public officials and others. The House Bill specifically makes claims of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia "defamation per se" that are presumed to be false and defamatory. Under current law, if a statement is true it is not defamation, but this bill forbids proving an allegation of homophobia or transphobia is true by citing the speaker's religious or "scientific" beliefs. Sponsor is Rep. Andrade and Sen. Brodeur.
SUPPORT SB 276: The Hate Crimes Law Expansion would amend existing hate crimes law so that crimes of prejudice based on gender, gender identity, or forms of disability are also considered hate crimes. Transgender women of color are disproportionately the victims of hate motivated violence. They deserve the full protection of law. Sponsor is Sen. Berman.
SUPPORT HB 659/SB 1522: Florida adopted laws criminalizing HIV at the height of the epidemic, and HIV Modernization would bring those outdated HIV laws into alignment with decades of advances in HIV prevention and treatment science. Laws criminalizing living with HIV discourage testing, increase stigma, and contribute to the spread of HIV. HIV should be treated like other STDs/STIs under law. Sponsors are Rep. Felicia Robinson and Sen. Pizzo.
SUPPORT HB 393/SB 328: When an LGBTQ person is the victim of a crime, the “panic defense” shifts blame onto that person for the crime committed against them. Eliminating the Gay and Trans Panic Legal Defense would ensure that assailants cannot escape liability for harming or killing an LGBTQ person because the assailant claims some bogus fear about the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Florida should join the sixteen states that have already banned the panic defense. Sponsors are Rep. Harris and Sen. Book.
OPPOSE HB 129/SB 1410: Requiring 2/3rds Passage for Ballot Initiatives will make it harder for citizens to exercise direct control of the regulations that impact their daily lives. In conjunction with recently adopted limits on access to voting and other harsh restrictions on ballot initiatives, this takes decision-making further out of the public’s hands. Sponsor is Rep. Roth and Sen. Gruters.
OPPOSE SB 170/HB 1515: The Arbitrary and Unreasonable Preemption bill threatens new local ordinances, including pro-LGBTQ ordinances by undermining local governance and decision-making. Cities and counties have led the way in enacting LGBTQ protections, but this bill makes it more difficult to adopt, modify, or defend new local policies. It would let anyone put local protections on hold just by filing a challenge, even if frivolous. Sponsors are Rep. Brackett and Sen. Trumbull.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Gun violence prevention is a key part of our work toward LGBTQ equality. The Pulse Nightclub massacre was a devastating reminder of how lethal discrimination against our community can be, and gun violence is a civil rights issue disproportionately impacting marginalized communities, particularly transgender women of color. Alongside allies like Prevent Gun Violence Florida, we are advocating for policies to keep our families safe.
OPPOSE HB 543/SB 150:Permitless Carry policies eliminate the criminal background check and training requirements to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Implementing this policy would be dangerous to Florida citizens and the economy of our tourism-driven, family-friendly state. Sponsored by Rep. Brannan and Sen. Collins.
OPPOSE HB 221/SB 214: The Sales of Firearms and Ammunition Bill fines credit card companies for protecting public safety in flagging unusually large purchases of firearms or ammunition via “merchant codes.” Equality Florida is committed to ending gun violence, and realizes that had a gun merchant code existed in 2016, credit card companies could have flagged the Pulse nightclub shooter, who used his cards to purchase nearly $20,000 worth of weapons in the two weeks before the shooting. Sponsors are Rep. Snyder and Sen. Burgess.
SUPPORT HB 579/SB 462: Bans on Military-style Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines are critical policy reforms for gun safety. There is no legitimate reason for private citizens to have the military-style assault weapons used by the shooters at Pulse in Orlando, the music festival in Las Vegas, and at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. These weapons of war do not belong in civilian hands. Sponsors are Rep. Eskamani and Sen. Berman.
SUPPORT HB 187/SB 208: Safe Storage legislation ensures safer handling of firearms by requiring owners to use a locking mechanism or secured container when a weapon is accessible to a minor. This helps prevent unauthorized users, including children, from accessing firemarms, which can reduce tragedies due to suicide, unintentional discharges, and gun theft. Sponsors are Rep. Waldron and Sen. Polsky.