TODAY: Florida’s Republican-Controlled Senate Will Hear Arguments on LGBT Non-discriminationBy Adam Polaski • February 8, 2016 • 12:51 pm
Today at 1:30 pm ET in Tallahassee, Florida, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear the Florida Competitive Workforce Act – the first time a non-discrimination bill covering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people has ever received a hearing in the Sunshine State. The bill provides comprehensive protections for LGBT Floridians across employment, housing and public accommodations.
The bipartisan bill has gained momentum in recent weeks, with Republican Senators Jack Latvala and Travis Hutson both signing on as co-sponsors. Just yesterday, the House version of the bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Holly Raschein gained the support of House Majority Leader Dana Young (R-Tampa), who said, “This is an issue that transcends party.”
The hearing will take place after several weeks of postponement on the historic event.
Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said last week:
“Florida has the opportunity to make history in the south by advancing a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill that will strengthen the state’s economy and protect all Floridians. Many other states are grappling with harmful, anti-LGBT bills that put their economies and reputations at risk. This is an opportunity for Florida to send a distinctive message to the nation that it has learned from the missteps in places like Indiana and Arizona, and that it is serious about making Florida an ideal place to do business and raise a family.”
Support for the Florida Competitive Workforce Act is diverse, but particularly strong within Florida’s business community. Hundreds of businesses big and small have joined the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition to voice their support for the legislation. All of the key industries are represented in the coalition, including tourism, technology, infrastructure, banking and finance.
Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association – which represents more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and attractions, said last week:
“Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry employs more than 1.1 million Floridians making it the state’s number one industry. Passing the Competitive Workforce Act would offer protections for everyone using public accommodations and further demonstrate our state is a welcoming and safe place to visit.”
Freedom for All Americans’ States Action Team – where we deploy staff members and strategic guidance to coalitions working aggressively to pass LGBT non-discrimination legislation – is standing today with our coalition partners at Florida Competes. Learn more about Florida Competes here.