Our Representatives are considering a bill that would strip away all local business regulations, which puts the non-discrimination protections that we've passed locally at risk. We've worked too hard to lose our rights.
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 law for LGBTQ Americans. Promises Kept.
Your Congresswoman, Donna Shalala
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.
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."
As one of his first initiatives as State Representative for District 113, Michael Grieco filed House Bill 109 to ban conversion therapy against LGBTQ minors in our State.
SAVE applauds State Representative Michael Grieco for continuing the legacy that former State Representative David Richardson began. Although Richardson’s conversion therapy bill was stifled in 2014 and for several years after, it led to SAVE partnering with Representative Richardson to successfully pass ordinances to ban conversion therapy across nineteen local municipalities and in Broward County from 2015 to 2018, helping raise awareness of this important issue that affects our most vulnerable youth.
“Most people would be shocked that this pseudoscientific attempt at brainwashing is still legal in forty-one states including Florida. Now is the time for Floridians to recognize that we need to protect our LGBTQ youth from what is essentially legalized child abuse,” -State Representative Michael Grieco
"I was happy to hear Representative Grieco filed a legislative bill on conversion therapy today. I first filed a bill in 2014 to ban this nonsensical “therapy,” and though the bill was not heard I partnered with SAVE to further the conversation and educated many people about this horrific practice. I’m looking forward to the day when conversion therapy is banned all over the state of Florida." -Former Representative David Richardson.
Florida became the first state to introduce legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy in the 2019 legislative session when Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez filed a Bill in the Senate.
Representative Grieco is committed to continuing his strong pro-equality track record as a former Miami Beach Commissioner in his new role as State Representative, and will continue to carry David Richardson’s legacy in making LGBTQ rights a top legislative priority for Florida.
As we wake up this morning, let us celebrate the change that took place across our beautiful country last night. Although we may be feeling the sting of painful losses, there are silver linings that fuel our hope and move us forward.
A group of more than one hundred diverse women was elected to Congress, including our own Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and we won the House back, ensuring the checks and balances set forth in our Constitution. These are all strides to be celebrated among others: Colorado has its first openly gay Governor, the first openly gay Native American House member was elected, and Massachusetts voters passed a ballot measure that protects our transgender family.
We worked tirelessly in Florida and despite Mayor Gillum's narrow loss and some defeats in other key races, we've achieved major strides on behalf of you and our community, with several wins ushering in continued progress and inspiration. From the restoration of voting rights to disenfranchised individuals to Congressional upsets and solid wins in the Legislature, coupled by successful elections of strong candidates at the Municipal level, our movement is fortified and continues to strengthen throughout South Florida.
Below please find the listing of those with whom we celebrate today.
US Senator - Bill Nelson
Congress 18 - Lauren Baer
Congress 23 - Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Congress 25 - Mary Barzee Flores
Congress 26 - Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Congress 27 - Donna Shalala