Equality Florida's 2019 Priority Legislative Agenda

(As of March 5, 2019)

LGBTQ EQUALITY

OPPOSE HB 3/SB 1748: Preemption of Local Regulation threatens to roll back the tremendous local progress toward equality that currently protects 13 million Floridians. It threatens local employment, housing, and public accommodations protections; conversion therapy bans; equal benefits ordinances; and more. North Carolina’s HB 2 taught us that the response to discriminatory legislation like this is devastating economic backlash. This would a disaster for the LGBTQ community and our state economy. Defeating it is our top priority. Sponsors are Rep. Michael Grant and Sen. Keith Perry.

SUPPORT HB 485/SB 430: The Florida Competitive Workforce Act is a top proactive priority. It would clearly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians and ensure that Florida is a safe place to live, work, and visit for all people, including LGBTQ people. Florida leads the South in bipartisan support for this common sense nondiscrimination legislation. Sponsors are Rep. Jennifer Webb, Rep. Jackie Toledo (primary co-sponsor), and Sen. Darryl Rouson.

SUPPORT HB 109/SB 84: 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. This Ban Conversion Therapy legislation will put an end to conversion therapy on minors by licensed mental health professionals. Sponsors are Rep. Michael Grieco and Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez.

SUPPORT HB 743/SB 940: The Hate Crimes Law Expansion would amend existing hate crimes law so that crimes of prejudice based 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. They deserve the full protection of the law. Sponsors are Rep. Joseph Geller and Sen. Kevin Rader.

SUPPORT HB 6009/SB 254: It’s long past time for the Marriage Ban Repeal, which would delete outdated statute that bans recognizing same-sex marriage and defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Such laws are patently unconstitutional and devalue marriages that we have fought for so hard. Sponsors are Rep. Anna Eskamani, Rep. Adam Hattersley (primary co-sponsor), Sen. Gary Farmer, and Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (primary co-sponsor).

SUPPORT HB 823/SB 464: LGBTQ youth represent approximately 20% of youth in foster care and are placed in group homes at higher rates than their non-LGBTQ peers. The Foster Children’s Bill of Rights establishes critical nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status that are important to our community. Sponsors are Sen. Lauren Book and Rep. Loranne Ausley.

OPPOSE HB 195: The Study of the Bible and Religion bill is part of an anti-LGBTQ “Christian nationalist movement” to thwart LGBTQ equality. Bills like this one requiring our public schools to teach the Bible pretend to be about religious freedom, but in fact they seek to lay a foundation for extreme measures against LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections and reproductive freedom legislation. Sponsor is Rep. Kimberly Daniels.

AMEND OR OPPOSE HB 1279/SB 438: The LGBTQ community deserves full equality, just like everyone else. The Employment-Only nondiscrimination act would grant only 1/3rd of the Florida Civil Rights Act’s protections and poses legal risks to asserting full equality under the law. We have come too far to embrace a bill for our community that offers only minimal protections. Sponsor is Rep. Javier Fernandez and Sen. Joe Gruters.

MONITOR HB 847/SB 432: The restrictions in Employment Preemptions are broadly worded to control what obligations can be put on employers. We are monitoring this bill closely to ensure that it does not undermine local employment nondiscrimination protections. Sponsor is Rep. Bob Rommel and Sen. Joe Gruters.

REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM

Advocating for reproductive freedom is crucial to our fight for LGBTQ equality. It includes ensuring access to safe and legal abortion, combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, and supporting access to basic healthcare. That is why we are 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.

OPPOSE HB 235/SB 792: The Six-Week Abortion Ban is an unconstitutional attempt to oppose safe and legal abortion by imposing restrictions on access to abortion. At six weeks, this could take away a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions before she even knew she was pregnant and had a decision to make, preventing access to abortion at all. Sponsors are Rep. Mike Hill and Sen. Dennis Baxley.

OPPOSE HB 1345/SB 558: The Twenty-Week Abortion Ban is rooted in opposition to safe and legal abortion, not credible medical evidence. Every time a 20-week ban has been litigated, courts have blocked them. Once again, politicians are inserting themselves into the most private and personal medical decisions that are best left to a woman in consultation with her doctor, her family, and her faith. Sponsor is Sen. Joe Gruters.

SUPPORT HB 227/SB 412: 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 patients, and those patients should be able to access care free from violence, threats, and harassment. Sponsors are Rep. Amy Mercado and Sen. Linda Stewart.

SUPPORT HB 579/SB 410: Establishing the Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) Pilot Program in Duval, Hillsborough, and Palm Beach will expand access to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control implants that are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and effective from 3 to 10 years. LARCs empower women to take control of their reproductive health. Other states’ LARC programs have proven their effectiveness in reducing teen birth and abortion rates. Sponsors are Rep. Tracie Davis and Sen. Lori Berman.

GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION

After the Pulse massacre claimed 49 lives, we committed to advocating for common sense gun violence prevention as part of 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 marginalized communities, including people of color and immigrants. Alongside allies like the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, we are advocating for policies to keep our families safe.

MONITOR SB 7030: This School Safety and Security bill would allow the arming of Florida’s school teachers, over the loud objections heard from students and parents in the wake of last year’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting. While the bill has some good school security measures, we cannot support arming of Florida’s school teachers. The only people who should have access to firearms on campus are highly-trained law enforcement officers. Sponsor is the Senate Education Committee.

SUPPORT HB 455/SB 466 and SB 500: A Ban on Military-style Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines 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 Rep. Carlos Smith (HB 455), Sen. Gary Farmer (SB 466), and Sen. Linda Stewart (SB 500).

SUPPORT HB 135/SB 654 and SB 468: Expanded Background Checks will require that all firearm purchases include a background check conducted by a licensed firearm dealer. This would ensure safety by closing the “gun show loophole” that currently provides a means to avoid background checks for those who state law currently prohibits from possessing a firearm. Sponsor is Rep. Margaret Good (HB 135), Sen. Lauren Book (SB 654), and Sen. Gary Farmer (SB 468).

OPPOSE HB 6007: This bill to Allow Campus Carry would move Florida backwards by repealing the existing prohibitions on open carry and concealed carry at college and university campuses. In a University of South Florida poll, 73% of Florida adults polled said that allowing students to concealed carry on campus would be heading in the wrong direction. Sponsor is Rep. Anthony Sabitini.

HIV & CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

SUPPORT HB 79/SB 846: HIV Criminalization Reform is designed to reduce criminal penalties for persons living with HIV, and bring our outdated statutes into alignment with modern HIV prevention science. Laws that criminalize living with HIV discourage testing and, therefore, contribute to the spread of HIV. Sponsors are Rep. Nick Duran and Sen. Jason Pizzo.

SUPPORT HB 49/SB 332: The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act would provide increased access to basic hygiene and reproductive healthcare supplies to women who are incarcerated, and restrict male correctional facility employees from conducting pat-downs on them and being in areas were they are in a state of undress. Sponsors are Rep. Shevrin Jones, Rep. Amy Mercado, and Sen. Jason Pizzo.

SUPPORT HB 171/SB 366: The Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) would expand an existing pilot program on needle exchange that has already proven effective. The pilot program has proven effective in reducing opioid deaths and overdoses. Clean needle and syringe exchanges can also prevent the transmission of HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases among intravenous drug users. Sponsors are Rep. Shevrin Jones, Rep. Rene Plasencia, and Sen. Oscar Braynon.

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