Resistance Report Week 3: The Attacks are Escalating
There are 43 days left of Florida’s 60-day Legislative Session — and DeSantis’ legislative allies are fast-tracking his Slate of Hate agenda. Some of these bad bills are already making their way to the Senate and House floors for full votes by the chambers
Things are moving fast and furious in the Capitol, but we’re committed to fighting back every step of the way. Our session-long resistance campaign, Pride at the Capitol, continued this week with dozens of volunteer activists joining us to speak out against 9 different bills across 8 different committee hearings!
Bear with us. A LOT happened in Tallahassee this week, and we want to make sure you’re informed and know the best ways to get involved. Here are our legislative updates from week 3 of session:
The Criminalizing Gender Affirming Care Bill (SB 254)
- What you need to know: This bill threatens doctors with jail time for providing essential medical care to transgender children as well as makes access more difficult for transgender adults. It weaponizes the state’s custody courts against an affirming parent, effectively permitting kidnapping by an unsupportive parent seeking to take away parental rights.
In a hearing on the bill Thursday morning, Senator Shevrin Jones introduced an amendment to allow prescribed medical care to prevent suicide. More specifically, this humane and narrowly-tailored amendment would have allowed the minimum amount of healthcare to prevent self-harm including suicide when the parents consent and two doctors have diagnosed severe gender dysphoria and recommend the care in writing. The amendment FAILED on a party-line vote, with every Republican in the room voting AGAINST protecting transgender children from suicide.> To learn more about the full hearing, read our live-tweet coverage.
Ultimately, the bill advanced through its FINAL COMMITTEE STOP. 🚨 It now heads to the Senate Floor for a full vote as early as next week. 🚨
- How you can get involved: We must mobilize quickly and aggressively against this legislation before it’s scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. Tell members of the Florida Senate to OPPOSE SB 254.
The Trans Ban Bill (HB 1421)
- What you need to know: This bill is a direct attack on the existence of transgender youth and adults. It seeks to deny legal recognition via birth certificates for all ages, deny ALL gender-affirming care to minors, dramatically restrict access to gender-affirming care for adults, deny private insurance coverage to the extent care is available, and revoke licensure for health care providers who follow standards of medical care for transgender Floridians – standards that are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and other leading medical authorities.
- What's changed? The bill’s sponsor Rep. Randy Fine successfully added a strike-all amendment so that courts may change custody agreements to favor custody for a non-affirming parent to the detriment of an affirming parent's custody who wants to get their child access to care out of state. *The amendment also includes a government-imposed forced detransition by the end of this year for minors currently receiving healthcare and bans the use of telehealth for gender-affirming care for adults by requiring in-person presence. It would also ban transgender adults from continuing to receive care from highly trained nurses, limiting their care to certain licensed doctors.
- All together, this bill is a sweeping assault on the lives and medical freedoms of transgender Floridians. Free states don’t interfere with adults’ medical and legal decisions or with medical decisions that should be between parents, their children and their doctors. Despite much testimony in opposition to the bill, it advanced by a vote of 12-5 through the House Healthcare Regulation Committee on Wednesday. To learn more about the hearing, read our live-tweet coverage.
- How you can get involved: The Trans Ban has been added to the House Health & Human Services agenda for its FINAL committee hearing THIS Monday, March 27 at 2:00pm.Rush an urgent message to Committee Members to OPPOSE HB 1421.
The Regressive Education Bill (HB 1069)
- What you need to know: We don't need more censorship. This bill promoted book banning, antiquated, harmful gender roles, and further politicized our classrooms, handing control of sex education over the Governor's political appointees. The bill narrowly defines "sex" and denies the existence of LGBTQ people, intersex people, and even IVF technology by insisting that reproductive roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable."
- What’s changed? Thanks to efforts by Planned Parenthood Florida and Rep. Ashley Gantt, the provision that barred the discussion of sex-ed subjects before 6th grade, including menstruation, was removed. However, a proposed amendment successfully added new provisions to the bill including a “Don't Say LGBTQ” expansion for Pre-K through 8th grade — including in charter schools as well as provisions allowing school employees and students to intentionally misgender transgender students and staff, forbidding a teacher from disclosing their pronouns to students, and forbidding school employees from asking students their pronouns.
During a hearing in the Education & Employment Committee on Thursday, the bill advanced on a 14-6 vote.
- How you can get involved: This bill has been scheduled for a House floor vote on Thursday, March 30! Tell your Representative to VOTE NO on HB 1069.
The Anti-Drag Bill (HB 1423/SB 1438)
- What you need to know:Florida law already prohibits exposing minors to shows considered sexually explicit or harmful, but this discriminatory and unnecessary bill expands state law to include vague language that can be used to attack our drag community. It gives state agencies the power to politically target, fine, and shut down LGBTQ-friendly businesses and it revokes a parent’s right to determine what art and entertainment content is appropriate for their own family. The bill is so extreme that it potentially threatens misdemeanor charges and imprisonment for any person or parent who admits a minor to certain drag shows.
SB 1438, the Senate version of this bill, was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and one of our volunteer advocates, Momma Ashley Rose gave powerful testimony opposing it. Unfortunately, the bill still advanced out of committee. HB 1423, the House version, was also advanced out of the House Commerce Committee earlier today.
- How you can get involved: SB 1438 is now in the Senate Rules Committee, and HB 1423 is in the House Judiciary Committee. Click here to tell Committee members to oppose SB 1438, and click here to tell Committee members to oppose HB 1423.
"Don't Say LGBTQ" Expansion Bill(HB 1223/SB 1320)
- What you need to know: This bill would expand the Don’t Say LGBTQ law’s censorship provisions to 8th grade and revoke the right of parents to determine which pronouns the school system will use to address their own children. On Monday, the Senate version of this bill (SB 1320) advanced out of the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee with a vote of 9-3. Watch the strong testimony from our Public Policy Director Jon Harris Maurer during that hearing.
- How you can get involved: SB 1320 still has to go through the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee, and the House version of the bill (HB 1223) still has to go through the House Education & Employment Committee. There’s still time to tell members of these committees to OPPOSE this harmful expansion of the “Don’t Say LGBTQ” Law - send a message today.
The 6-Week Abortion Ban Bill (HB 7/SB 300)
- What you need to know: This bill would BAN abortion in Florida after 6 weeks, a dramatic escalation from last year’s already extreme 15-week ban. Because of how early the ban kicks in, this is a near-total abortion ban, meaning many will be forced by our state government to carry their pregnancies to term. This bill is a direct attack on bodily autonomy and personal freedom.
Our efforts in Tallahassee helped sway one Republican on the Senate Health Policy Committee to vote against SB 300 on Monday, but the bill still advanced out of the committee. And many Floridians who showed up to testify, including doctors, were silenced as they tried to express their opposition to the bill – watch Florida Planned Parenthood’s video.
*Alexis Calatayud (R-Miami) was the only Republican to vote against SB 300.
- How you can get involved: SB 300 has been added to the Fiscal Policy agenda for Tuesday, March 28 at 8:30am — its final Senate committee before heading for a floor vote — and HB 7 (the House version) has one more stop in the House Health & Human Services Committee. Tell your legislators to oppose any further restrictions on abortion.
The Resolution Opposing LGBTQ Service Members (HM 1319/SM 1382):
- What you need to know: This resolution is deeply offensive to minority members, including LGBTQ members, of the United States armed forces who put their lives on the line for our country. It questions their skill and devalues their dedication because of their minority status, suggesting they don’t meet the standards of fitness for service. HM 1319 advanced out of the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee on Monday, but our advocates – out and proud veterans – showed up at the hearing and caught members off guard by speaking out against it. The Senate version, SM 1382, also advanced this week out of the Senate Military and Veteran Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee.
- How you can get involved: Both versions of the resolution will face one more committee before moving to the floor. Tell members of the House State Affairs Committee to oppose HM 1319 and members of the Senate Rules Committee to oppose SM 1382.
The Defamation Censorship Bill (HB 991/SB 1220):
- What you need to know: This bill would make it easier to sue the media or members of the public over criticism of public officials. It’s a direct attack on the right to free speech, going against Supreme Court precedent. The House version of the bill (HB 991) makes it so claims of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia are presumed to be false and defamatory, while restricting how the claims can be proved. On Tuesday, the Senate version (SB 1220) advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 8-3.
- How you can get involved: HB 991 will face the House Judiciary Committee next, and SB 1220 will face the Senate Rules Committee next. Click here to tell Committee members to oppose HB 991, and click here to tell Committee members to oppose SB 1220.
As DeSantis and the Florida GOP continue to push these policy proposals, they’re making national headlines, because of how far-right and extreme these bills are. But our vocal opposition is making headlines, too!
We still have six weeks left in this legislative session, and we plan to continue fighting back every single day of those six weeks.
In addition to our work in Tallahassee, students and community leaders are hosting rallies throughout the state opposing DeSantis’ fascist agenda and speaking out against his Slate of Hate. This includes a massive student and youth-led “March for Queer And Trans Youth Autonomy” on Friday, March 31 — the International Transgender Day of Visibility. We’re keeping track of upcoming rallies — find one near you!
Throughout the rest of session, we’re going to be continuing our Pride at the Capitol campaign in-person in Tallahassee, hosting virtual events, and using our social media to post updates, call out Florida lawmakers, and more.