Bills Filed to Establish Comprehensive LGBTQ Non-discrimination Protections in Florida

Tallahassee — Today Senator Darryl Rouson (D - St. Petersburg) and Representative Jennifer Webb (D - St. Petersburg) filed HB 485 and SB 430, comprehensive legislation to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Floridians under Florida’s existing Civil Rights Act. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which establishes LGBTQ non-discrimination protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations, is expected to earn unprecedented bipartisan support and begins the session with the support of Florida’s largest employers.

Filed last session by Senator Darryl Rouson and Representative Ben Diamond (D - St. Petersburg), the Florida Competitive Workforce Act has consistently garnered tremendous bipartisan support. With 69 Democratic and Republican sponsors and cosponsors, it was the third-most sponsored bill of the 2018 legislative session. Currently, comprehensive local non-discrimination protections that include gender identity and sexual orientation cover nearly 60% of Florida’s population.

Today’s filing comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily reinstate the ban on transgender Americans serving in the military, renewed attacks by the Trump administration on transgender students in schools, and a surge in deadly violence against gay and transgender Floridians. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act sends the signal that Democrats, Republicans, and the business community are standing together for comprehensive statewide LGBTQ protections and for the dignity and safety of LGBTQ people. ​​​​​​​

Equality Florida Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer issued the following statement: ​​​​​​​

"Equality Florida is thrilled to have pro-equality champions Senator Darryl Rouson and Representative Jennifer Webb introduce this crucial nondiscrimination legislation. There has never been a stronger climate in Tallahassee for passage, and its bipartisan momentum is undeniable. Leading Florida businesses like Disney, Darden, Tech Data, and Marriot support the Florida Competitive Workforce Act because they know these protections are essential for attracting and retaining top talent. Recent polling also shows that 70% of Americans support laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. It’s time for Florida to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.”

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