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.  

“Florida Inclusive Workforce Act is the type of legislation Florida needs for economic and career development. It shouldn’t matter who an individual loves or what their gender identity is, when it comes to our workforce," said State Representative Amber Mariano (R - Port Richey). "The passage of the FIWA will send a strong signal across Florida and across the United States that Florida cares about protecting our LGBTQ community in the workplace. I’m proud to be a prime co-sponsor and will work tirelessly to get this legislation passed”

“It will take a bipartisan effort to pass the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act and today was a significant step forward for our LGBTQ community. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Gruters, Representative Fernandez and our co-sponsors, the LGBTQ community has a diverse and powerful voice in the Florida Legislature,” said Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE. “The Florida Inclusive Workforce Act is the winning pathway for protecting the LGBTQ community in the workplace. FIWA will open doors enabling us to move forward with protecting our community in every part of Florida and in all areas of our lives."

The Florida Inclusive 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.

“The Florida Inclusive Workforce Act sends a strong signal that Florida embraces LGBTQ workforce diversity and protections that companies like Amazon want to see in place as they consider relocating to our state. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Gruters, Representatives Fernandez and Mariano, and our co-sponsors, the LGBTQ community has a diverse and powerful voice in the Florida Legislature,” said Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE. “The Florida Inclusive Workforce Act is the winning pathway for protecting the LGBTQ community in the workplace. FIWA will open doors enabling us to move forward with protecting our community in every part of Florida and in all areas of our lives."

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.

About SAVE Florida
SAVE is recognized as South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) against discrimination. Since 1993, SAVE has advocated for equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities through political advocacy, community outreach, and other activities. Starting with the landmark passage of Miami's Human Rights Ordinance in 1998, its expansion to protect the transgender community in 2014, and the litigation spearheaded by SAVE which resulted in marriage equality in Florida in January 2015, SAVE continues to lead the fight for LGBTQ equality. Its mission is to promote, protect and defend equality for the LGBTQ community in Florida and its vision is to have a community where people who are LGBTQ have full equality in all facets of life.

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