Equality Florida 2018 Legislative Agenda
(as of Jan. 9, 2018)
OPPOSE HB 871/SB 1290: License to Discriminate. These bills would create a sweeping license to discriminate, allowing business owners to deny goods and services under the guise of “freedom of expression” or “religious freedom.” Not only could these bills effectively roll back local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect millions of Floridians, but they would sanction discrimination against ANY marginalized community as long as it’s argued to be in congruence with someone’s “sincerely held religious belief.” North Carolina’s HB 2 taught us that the only response to sweeping discriminatory legislation like this is devastating economic backlash. Defeating this dangerous legislation is Equality Florida’s number one priority this session. Sponsors are Representative Jay Fant and Senator Dennis Baxley.
SUPPORT HB 347/SB 66:The Florida Competitive Workforce Act is a top priority. These bills would finally prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians and ensure that Florida is a safe place to live, work, and play for all people, including those who are LGBTQ. Florida leads the South in bipartisan support for common sense non-discrimination legislation and is poised to pass these vital protections. Sponsors are Representative Ben Diamond, Representative Rene Plasencia, and Senator Darryl Rouson.
SUPPORT HB 717/SB 696:Banning Conversion Therapy. So-called conversion therapy is fraudulent, dangerous, and inflicts immeasurable harm on its victims. Minors are especially vulnerable to the dangers of conversion therapy, which has been tragically proven to lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, self-harm and suicide. These bills ban the practice of “conversion” or “reparative” therapy on minors by licensed mental health professionals in the state of Florida. Sponsors are Representative Evan Jenne and Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez.
SUPPORT HB 211/SB 588:The Hate Crimes Law Expansion would expand existing hate crimes law so that crimes evidencing prejudice based in whole or in part on gender or gender identity are also considered hate crimes. Transgender people, and specifically transgender women of color, are disproportionately the victims of hate motivated violence. It’s time to ensure transgender and gender non-conforming people the full protection of law. Sponsors are Representative Joseph Geller, Representative Al Jacquet, and Senator Kevin Rader.
SUPPORT HB 6027/SB 130:Marriage Equality. This would repeal outdated statutory language that prohibits recognizing same sex marriages and defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Such laws have clearly been determined to be unconstitutional and should be removed. Sponsors are Representative David Richardson and Senator Gary Farmer.
Advocating for reproductive justice is crucial to our fight for LGBTQ equality. Reproductive justice means ensuring access to safe and legal abortion, but it also means combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and supporting access to basic healthcare in our state. That is why we are so proud to fight shoulder to shoulder with our friends at Planned Parenthood, the Florida Latina Advocacy Network, Florida NOW, and so many others to defend access to reproductive health services.
SUPPORT HB 719/SB 546:HIV Criminalization Reform is designed to reduce criminal penalties for persons living with HIV. Laws that criminalize people living with HIV discourage testing and, therefore, contribute to the spread of HIV. Sponsors are Representative Nick Duran and Senator Rene Garcia.
SUPPORT HB 189/SB 320: The Florida Freedom to Access Clinic Entrances Act will protect access to reproductive healthcare by enforcing federal laws. Reproductive health care providers should not have to fear for their personal safety when they provide care to their patients, and reproductive health care patients should be able to access care free from violence, threats, and harassment. Sponsors are Representative Amy Mercado and Senator Linda Stewart.
SUPPORT HB 1273/SB 1718:Prescription Contraceptive Coverage legislation would require health insurance policies in the state to cover prescription, FDA-approved contraception, while providing an exception from coverage requirements for eligible religious employers. Sponsors are Representative Holly Raschein and Senator Lauren Book.
OPPOSE HB 41/SB 444: Known as the Crisis Pregnancy Center Bills, these purposely intend to restrict women’s access to the full range of health care services by quality providers. These bills seek to codify into law “crisis pregnancy centers” that oppose abortion and often work to persuade women–and in some cases judge, shame, or try to trick women–out of getting the care they are seeking. Women need access to qualified medical professionals who they can trust to provide them with the full range of services they need, without an agenda, judgment, or deception. Sponsors are Representative Jackie Toledo and Senator Aaron Bean.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
After the Pulse massacre claimed 49 lives, we committed to advocating for common sense gun violence prevention measures in combination with our work to move equality forward for LGBTQ people. We know that discrimination against our community can be lethal, and gun violence is a civil rights issue that disproportionately impacts all marginalized communities, including people of color and immigrant communities. Alongside the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, we are joining forces with our allies to advocate for policies that will keep our families safe.
SUPPORT HB 219/SB 196: A Ban on Military-style Assault Weapons is an important policy reform, especially after the Pulse massacre. There is simply no legitimate reason for private citizens to have access to military-style assault weapons used by the shooters at Pulse in Orlando, the music festival in Las Vegas, and at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. These weapons of war do not belong in civilian hands. Sponsors are Representative Carlos Smith and Senator Linda Stewart
SUPPORT HB 1051/SB 334: This Firearm Purchases bill will require that law enforcement be notified when a person fails a background check, making it more likely that law enforcement will be able to prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who seek to do harm. Sponsors are Representative Bobby DuBose and Senator Randolph Bracy.
SUPPORT SB 838:Expanded Background Checks will require that all firearm purchases include a background check conducted by a licensed firearm dealer, removing the “gun show loophole.” Sponsor is Senator Gary Farmer.
SUPPORT HB 321/SB 456: Banning the possession, transfer, or sale of Bump-fire Stocks is a common sense measure to avoid the proliferation of weapons of war that have been used to inflict devastating harm. Sponsors are Representative David Richardson and Senator Linda Stewart.
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