Senator Travis Hutson Becomes Second Republican to Co-Introduce Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act in the Senate
Florida Senator Travis Hutson of Palm Coast today joined Florida Senator Jack Latvala of Clearwater in becoming the second GOP Senator to co-introduce the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, a bill aimed at protecting Florida’s LGBT community against discrimination in the workplace, public housing and accommodations. Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo of Boynton Beach and House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein of the Keys, if passed, would update the Civil Rights Act of 1992.
“Thank you to Sen. Travis Hutson for his leadership and support of this pro-business, anti-discrimination legislation,” said Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition Campaign Manager Patrick Slevin. “To have two Republican Senators, and nine GOP House members leading the effort to ensure Florida remains competitive in the global marketplace is very encouraging as we head into the second week of Session.”
"The LGBTQ community still lacks non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations," added Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE, South Florida's top LGBTQ advocacy organization and a key member of the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition. "These fundamental areas of our lives, that many of us take for granted never having to fear being treated unfairly, are the corner stones of the freedom and opportunities that the American Dream lends to us."
“I have always been a vocal supporter of this pro-business issue and believe there is a fundamental flaw in a society that condones the firing of someone simply because they are LGBT,” said Sen. Hutson. “I am pleased to join Sen. Latvala and my colleagues in the House to co-sponsor this very important piece of legislation. While there are some concerns I have for others to sue unjustifiably, I am confident that will be addressed through the committee process.”
Republican members in the House signing onto HB 45 include Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen, Tom Goodson, Bill Hager, Chris Latvala, Mike Miller, Kathleen Peters, Ray Pilon and Rene Plasencia.
While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. The Competitive Workforce Act aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.
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Last Thursday, SAVE Foundation was proud to christen its new ‘Equality Network’ initiative to build a coalition of businesses in support of workplace equality in Florida. The LGBTQ group inaugurated the network at an event at FIU’s Frost Art Museum on Thursday featuring U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo and CEO Mike Valdes-Fauli of the marketing firm Pinta, among other noted attendees.
Emphasizing inclusion as a key business value, Rep. Curbelo, who represents suburban Miami-Dade County and recently joined the U.S. House LGBT Equality Caucus, spoke of the need not just for policy change, but for broader cultural change in order to create a more competitive business and labor environment in Florida.
“Sometimes we’re tempted to change a rule or check a box and say we’ve achieved diversity,” he told the gathering of business owners and local leaders. “But businesses that truly value inclusion -- they think a variety of points of view are a good thing, and they’re primed to compete in the economy of the future.”
The event, a SAVE Foundation initiative in partnership with the Miami Young Republicans, the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, inaugurated the organization’s new Equality Network of businesses in support of workplace equality and a more competitive economy for Florida.
“Businesses need to know that we can make Florida’s workforce more competitive for the future by striving for an equal workplace,” SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima told attendees, “and I’m proud that after today we will already count more than 30 members in the Equality Network.”
Mike Valdes-Fauli, CEO of the cross-cultural marketing firm Pinta, echoed that sentiment as a featured speaker alongside Curbelo. "I can tell you through my firsthand experience at Pinta and in the business world that equality as a business value is not only the right thing to do, but it's also great for your bottom line," he told attendees, "and so I urge all businesses that aim to compete in today's global and diverse economy to join important initiatives like SAVE's Equality Network."
SAVE Foundation invites all local businesses owners of South Florida to join the Equality Network. Those interested in joining are urged to email SAVE's Equality Network at email@example.com.
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