Equality Florida 2024 Legislative Slate

2024 Legislative Slate

As of January 24, 2024

LGBTQ EQUALITY

OPPOSE HB 1639: The Trans Erasure Bill is a new assault on the rights and dignity of transgender Floridians, aimed at excluding them from public life. Transgender people have always existed, but this legislation seeks to deny their legal existence and create new barriers to accessing lifesaving care, all while increasing insurance costs. A similar bill, HB 1233 by Rep. Black has not been scheduled for a hearing and is likely not moving forward this session. The sponsor is Rep. Bankson.

OPPOSE HB 599/SB 1382: The “Don’t Say Gay or Trans at Work" Bill is an alarming escalation of right-wing censorship that forces extreme anti-LGBTQ ideology into public and certain private workplaces, and especially targets transgender workers. It goes far beyond regulating pronouns to impose unprecedented political control over the activities of charities, private businesses, and human service organizations, and would deny state contracts to businesses that don’t rubber stamp the government’s extremist viewpoint that transgender people do not exist, while providing a “Bible or biology” exemption that creates a sweeping license to discriminate in the workplace. Sponsors are Rep. Chamberlin and Sen. Martin.

OPPOSE HB 433/SB 1492: The Preemption of Employment Protections bill threatens existing and future local employment nondiscrimination protections. It would repeal or ban local governments from adopting nondiscrimination policies on "conditions of employment," which already protect 60% of Floridians. This is legislative interference with local control and a dramatic roll back of local priorities that have been in place with broad support from the public and businesses for years. Sponsors are Rep. Esposito and Sen. Trumbull.

OPPOSE HB 901/SB 1120: Flags have historically been used to connect communities in an exercise of free speech. The Pride Flag Ban Bill bans public buildings from raising any flag that represents a “political viewpoint,” including Pride Flags. This is one more part of the Desantis agenda of censorship. Born largely from far-right activists protesting LGBTQ pride flags on government buildings, it attacks visibility in public spaces and classrooms for all minority groups. Sponsors are Rep. Borrero and Sen. Martin.

OPPOSE HB 833/SB 1708: The Policing Safe Space Stickers bill prohibits local law enforcement agencies from using “safe space” stickers or signage indicating support for the LGBTQ community. This is a petty attempt to overtly deny recognizing disproportionate violence that minority communities face. Sponsors are Rep. Yarkosky and Sen. Yarborough.

SUPPORT SB 160: 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. Sponsor is Sen. Polsky.

YOUTH AND EDUCATION

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.

SUPPORT HB 1355/SB 1414: The Freedom to Learn Act undoes the harms inflicted on LGBTQ and minority students recently by the DeSantis Administration, while safeguarding academic freedom and ensuring that schools work to protect every student and respect every family. It would allow age-appropriate K-12 instruction on topics including gender identity and sexual orientation; permit the use of affirming titles and pronouns; ensure schools don’t forcibly out students when it could endanger their safety at home; keep more books on library shelves by narrowing who can submit an objection to instructional materials; and foster DEI initiatives on college campuses by allowing schools to financially support DEI programming and campus activities. Sponsors are Rep. Rayner and Sen. Davis.

OPPOSE HB 1135/SB 1238: Child sexual abuse is real and devastating. The sweeping “Criminalizing Sex Ed” bill confuses what grooming actually is and trivializes its seriousness. It threatens to restrict information crucial to preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancy for minors and threatens to deny them access to LGBTQ content. It uses broad, vague language and a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine to censor a wide range of content in the absence of parental approval. Sponsors are Reps. Yarkosky and Bankson, and Sen. Martin.

OPPOSE HB 1027/SB 1728: The Single-Sex Student Organizations Bill takes a “Mean Girls” approach to allow sororities and fraternities at public and private universities or colleges to deny membership or leadership positions to transgender students and enables the organizations to enforce discriminatory, anti-transgender policies. Sponsors are Rep. Gonzalez-Pittman and Sen. Brodeur.

OPPOSE HB 1425/SB 1352: Among various reforms, the Juvenile Justice Package mandates inferior treatment for transgender youth, who would be denied access to programming, services, interventions, and facilities that affirm their gender identities, and would, instead, be classified, under this bill, according to their sex assigned at birth, potentially suffering worse outcomes as a result. Sponsors are Rep. Yarkosky and Sen. Bradley.

OPPOSE HB 1291/SB 1372: The “Stop WOKE Teacher Training” bill would extend the so-called Stop WOKE prohibitions on the teachings of racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege to teachers participating in the State Board of Education’s preparation courses. This builds on existing harms created by DeSantis’ extreme censorship agenda, while further restricting the ability of teachers to lead 21st century classrooms with honest and accurate teachings and discussions that reckon with our past to create a better future for our students. Sponsor is Sen. Ingoglia.

OPPOSE SB 454: The “Online Social Media for Minors” bill targets social media platforms with high penalties for failure to restrict minors’ access to material and online interactions that could be deemed harmful to children. The bill language contains vague terms that have been weaponized by extremist lawmakers to target the LGBTQ+ community. Sponsor is Sen. Garcia.

MONITOR HB 1663/SB 1722: The “Child Protective Investigations” bill codifies the state’s existing approach that treating a child in accordance with their sex assigned at birth is not child abuse; it does not address affirming a transgender child. Given the Legislature’s extreme interference with parents’ rights to affirm their transgender children, this legislation deserves serious scrutiny. Sponsors are Rep. Fabricio and Sen. Grall.

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.

SUPPORT HB 1283/SB 1404: The Health Care Freedom Act restores Floridians’ fundamental rights and freedoms to make their own personal healthcare decisions without political interference. This bill would repeal DeSantis’ unconstitutional 6- and 15-week abortion bans, while removing barriers to life-saving gender affirming care for adults and the penalties for healthcare workers providing care, and restoring the parents’ rights to make decisions about essential care for their transgender children. It would repeal the “License to Discriminate in Healthcare” that broadly allows any healthcare provider or insurer to refuse service because of their religious, ethical, or moral preferences. Sponsors are Rep. Eskamani and Sen. Jones.

SUPPORT HB 159/SB 1320: There have been tremendous advances in fighting HIV and AIDS, and the PrEP & PEP Access bill facilitates access to medications that are critical to preventing HIV transmission. The legislation recognizes scientific advances and 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 and Sen. Calatayud.

OPPOSE HB 1519: The outrageous Total Abortion Ban is extreme even by Florida standards and effectively bans all abortion in Florida by defining “an unborn child beginning at the moment of fertilization” as a “person.” It removes existing exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking. Everyone deserves bodily autonomy to make such fundamental healthcare choices. Sponsor is Rep. Borrero.

SUPPORT HB 111/SB34: The Abortion Penalty Exemption makes clear that draconian felony penalties for performing or participating in an abortion shall not apply to the pregnant Floridian who is terminating a pregnancy. Sponsors are Rep. Eskamani and Sen. Book.

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 757/SB 1780, SB 1086: The Defamation Censorship bills are 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. They make it easier to sue the media or members of the public over criticism of public officials and others. SB 1780 specifically makes claims of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia "defamation per se'' that are presumed to be false and defamatory. It also reduces the evidence that a defendant can use to prove the allegation is true. Sponsor is Rep. Andrade and Sen. Brodeur.

SUPPORT SB 134: The Hate Crimes Law Expansion would amend existing hate crimes law so that crimes of prejudice based on gender, gender identity, or certain 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 137/SB 156: 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 a 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 SB 1752: The End Vote By Mail bill is a frontal assault on foundational democratic principles. It would end “no excuse” mail-in voting and dramatically limit vote-by-mail, which is a critical tool for Floridans to exercise their basic, personal rights. Sponsor is Sen. Ingoglia.

OPPOSE HB 335: 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.

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.

SUPPORT SB 176: Safe Storage legislation ensures safer handling of firearms by requiring owners to use a trigger lock or secure container when a weapon is accessible to a minor. This helps prevent unauthorized users, including children, from accessing firearms, which can reduce tragedies due to suicide, accidental discharges, and gun theft. Sponsor is Sen. Polsky.

SUPPORT HB 279/SB 150: 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.

OPPOSE HB 17: The Expiration of the Mandatory Waiting Period for Firearms Purchases bill revises mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases–rather than waiting until the later of three days or successful completion of records check, this bill would give access upon whichever comes earlier. Sponsor is Rep. Rudman.

OPPOSE SB 1124: The Mandatory Waiting Period for Handgun Purchases bill eliminates the mandatory waiting period between the purchase and delivery of long guns, including AR-15s. Sponsor is by Sen. Martin.

OPPOSE HB 1223: The Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer bill lowers the minimum age required to purchase long guns, including AR-15s, from 21 to 18-years-old. Sponsor is by Rep. Payne.

OPPOSE HB 1619: Open Carry bill allows for open carry of guns in Florida; lifts the ban on firearms in polling locations, college and university campuses, career centers, and professional athletic events; and allows members of the legislature to concealed carry guns into legislative committees and into the Capitol complex. The bill also severely limits the use of Risk Protection Orders. Sponsor is Rep. Beltran.

 

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