I was delighted last week to be an original co-sponsor of the reintroduction of the Equality Act to ban LGBTQ discrimination. Led by David Ciccilini (D-RI) the bill adds “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the classes protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It effectively bans discrimination in employment, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs, and credit.
The new bill specifies as well that it is illegal to discriminate against all protective classes in retail stores, emergency shelters, banks, transit and pharmacies among other places. The new bill also clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used in the civil rights context, prohibiting religious liberty from being used as a license to discriminate.
We will pass it shortly in the house and have a shot in the Senate if the Majority Leader will put it on the floor. Signed into law it would be the first national non-discrimination low for LGBTQ Americans. Promises Kept.
Your Congresswoman, Donna Shalala
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Florida Inclusive Workforce Act is Vital to Attracting Companies Looking for LGBTQ Diversity and Protections in FL
REPRESENTATIVES JAVIER FERNANDEZ AND AMBER MARIANO SPONSOR FLORIDA INCLUSIVE WORKFORCE ACT HB1279
TALLAHASSEE, FL, March 4, 2019 — Today, State Representatives Javier Fernandez (D-Miami) and Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) filed a companion bill (HB1279) to Senator Joe Gruters’ The Florida Inclusive Workforce Act (SB438) in the House. Representative Fernandez’s sponsorship gives the FIWA an opportunity to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Representative Amber Mariano will be the prime co-sponsor validating bipartisan support in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. The bipartisan support of FIWA in both chambers of the legislature comes on the heels of Governor DeSantis and Florida leaders soliciting Amazon to come to Florida after the company decided to pull out of New York.
Today, State Representative Javier Fernandez (D-Miami) filed a companion bill to Senator Joe Gruters’ Florida Inclusive Workforce Act (SB438) in the House. Representative Fernandez’s sponsorship gives the FIWA an opportunity to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) will be the prime co-sponsor validating bipartisan support in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. As part of its growing legislative momentum, house legislators have quickly voiced their support of FIWA as co-sponsors.
SAVE Florida Supports Senator Joe Gruters’ Bill To End LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination in Florida While Strengthening Florida’s Workforce
LGBTQ Leaders Join SAVE in Lauding a Bi-Partisan Approach in Passing the Florida Inclusion Workforce Act (FIWA)
Today, Florida State Senator Joe Gruters introduced a Senate Bill to protect LGBTQ Floridians from discrimination in the workplace. The Florida Inclusion Workforce Act (FIWA) focuses on ensuring that Florida remains competitive in retaining the best talent in its workforce by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida’s Civil Rights Act, helping to strengthen Florida’s economic future.
"Thanks to the efforts of Senator Gruters, the LGBTQ community has a new champion in the Florida Senate. Protecting our LGBTQ community from discrimination in Florida will take a bi-partisan effort that SAVE believes is the winning pathway for the LGBTQ community," said Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE. "Years of partisan attacks have killed any potential success for a comprehensive non-discrimination bill in Tallahassee," said Lima
Legislation to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations was initially introduced in 2007 but failed to hit the Senate floor. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act followed in 2009 but unfortunately, in the past nine legislative sessions, the bill failed to be heard in the Florida House of Representatives. In 2015, there was one hearing in the Senate, which failed to pass.
"For the past decade, passing protections for the LGBTQ community have not been a legislative priority," said former State Representative David Richardson. "Continuing to rely on a failed strategy and a bill that has floundered no longer makes sense."
"Senator Gruters’ bill is sharply focused on the key economic discrimination faced by LGBTQ Floridians – discrimination in the workplace," said retired judge Rand Hoch, President, and Founder of Palm Beach Human Rights Council. "Achieving this first step will open the door enabling us to then move forward with protecting our community in every part of Florida and in all areas of our lives."
"Policy change is often incremental," acknowledged Richardson. "I applaud Senator Gruters' for his fresh approach which is fully inclusive of the LGBT community."