Resistance Report Week 2: Divorcing from DeSantis


We’re BACK! In a show of unity and resistance, 225+ volunteers joined us for week two of legislative session at our Pride At The Capitol Kick-Off to demand lawmakers ditch DeSantis and his extremist agenda of censorship and government control. 


Volunteers on the Old Capitol Building steps during our Pride At The Capitol Kick-off


As part of our kick-off event, we hosted a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda with our Pride At The Capitol volunteers and a powerhouse lineup of speakers! We were joined by our champion pro-equality lawmakers who have filed critical legislation to restore our fundamental health care and education freedoms. Equality Florida’s Executive Director, Nadine Smith, and Senior Political Director, Joe Saunders, put DeSantis on notice: WE are the resistance! And the newest member of Equality Florida’s team - Angelique Godwin, our TransAction Special Events Coordinator - provided powerful closing remarks that fired up the crowd! 🔥




Our message was clear – it’s time for the legislature to divorce itself from DeSantis. 

Floridians are fed up with government intrusion into our private lives. It’s time for state legislators to undo the damage they have done and work for the good of our state, not for the governor’s personal ambitions. You can watch the full press conference here! 

Pride At The Capitol is a critical part of our strategy to defeat and mitigate the harms of bad bills and lay the groundwork for lawsuits against any bad bills that do become law. But we can’t do this without pro-equality supporters like YOU who come to Tallahassee to meet with lawmakers, tell your stories, and testify in committees. We’ll be in the Capitol every single day of the 60-day legislative session, and now we need YOU to join us on the frontlines. Find a Pride At The Capitol Day that works for you.

If you can’t join us in person, please consider a donation to help us get as many people to Tallahassee as possible. Every dollar counts! 

We will never stop fighting back. And we will make sure those across the state and the country know about the unpopular policies that the DeSantis-led GOP is trying to pass.  


Each week of session, we’ll be highlighting winners and losers that stood out as the best AND the worst. 

This week’s WINNER is also Tallahassee's newest state representative, Tom Keen! After winning a very close special election on Tuesday night, he arrived at the Capitol yesterday and was promptly sworn in as a member of the Florida House. As part of his platform, Rep. Keen pledged to fight back against attempts by the GOP to suppress our free speech, take away our rights, and harm our community. We’re so excited to have another pro-equality champion in Tallahassee that will fight alongside us! 

This week’s LOSERS are Rep. Randy Fine and Rep. David Borrero. Both of these members touted right-wing anti-equality agendas during last year’s session, and they’ve continued their attacks into the 2024 session. They’re the main sponsors of the House version of the Pride Flag Ban Bill, which was heard and passed out of its first committee this week. Despite vocal opposition to this bill that grossly attacks our freedom of expression, Reps. Fine and Borrero are pushing it through the House at an alarming speed. 




Week #2 of the 2024 legislative session saw lots of movement on bad bills, so we’re going to take you through exactly what happened, what’s coming, and how you can get involved.  


🚨The Transgender Erasure Bill (HB 1639)🚨

Sponsor: Reps. Doug Bankson and Dean Black

  • What it does: The Trans Erasure Bill is a sweeping new assault on the rights and dignity of transgender Floridians that seeks to further disenfranchise the community, create new barriers to accessing lifesaving care, and increases Floridians' insurance premiums, LGBTQ or not. This ramps up a series of cynical and politically motivated attacks from the DeSantis administration and the legislature.
  • What’s coming: HB 1639 is on the agenda in the Select Committee on Health Innovation on Monday, January 22 at 3:00 PM ET. 
  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Select Committee on Health Innovation right away and urge them to vote NO on HB 1639. Click here to send a message. 

The “Stop WOKE Teacher Training” Bill (SB 1372)

Sponsor: Sen. Blaise Ingoglia

  • What it does: This bill would extend the so-called Stop WOKE prohibitions on the teachings of racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege to teachers participating in the State Board of Education’s preparation courses. This builds on existing harms created by DeSantis’ extreme censorship agenda, while further restricting the ability of educators to lead 21st century classrooms with honest and accurate teachings and discussions that reckon with our past to create a better future for our students.
  • What’s coming: SB 1372 is on the agenda in the Senate Education Postsecondary Committee on Monday, January 22 at 4:00 PM ET. 
  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the Senate Education Postsecondary Committee and urge them to vote NO on SB 1372. Click here to send a message.

Volunteers Meeting With Pro-Equality Champion Rep. Rita Harris At Pride At The Capitol!


Pride Flag Ban Bill (HB 901/SB 1120)

Sponsors: Rep. David Borrero, Rep. Randy Fine, and Sen. Jonathan Martin 

  • What it does: Flags have historically been used to connect communities as an expression of free speech. The Pride Flag Ban Bill bans public buildings from raising any flag that represents a “political viewpoint,” including Pride Flags. This is one more part of the DeSantis agenda of censorship. Born largely from far-right activists protesting LGBTQ Pride Flags on government buildings, it attacks visibility in public spaces and classrooms for all minority groups.
  • What happened: HB 901 PASSED its first committee on a party line vote. Next, it heads to the House State Affairs Committee committee – the LAST committee it needs to pass before it goes to the House Floor for a full vote.

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House State Affairs Committee and urge them to vote NO on HB 901. Click here to send a message.



“Criminalizing Sex Ed” Bill (HB 1135/SB 1238)

Sponsors: Rep. Taylor Yarkosky, Rep. Doug Bankson, and Sen. Jonathan Martin

  • What it does: Child sexual abuse is real and devastating. The sweeping “Criminalizing Sex Ed” bill confuses what grooming actually is and trivializes its seriousness. It threatens to restrict information crucial to preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancy for minors and threatens to deny them access to LGBTQ content. It uses broad, vague language and a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine to censor a wide range of content in the absence of parental approval.
  • What happened: HB 1135 PASSED its first committee after strong questioning led by Rep. Michele Rayner, but was amended and narrowed in a way that addresses some of these issues. We remain concerned about its potential impacts on sexual education in Florida. Next, it heads to the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, its second of three committee stops.
  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and urge them to vote NO on HB 1135. Click here to send a message.


The Defamation Censorship Bill (HB 757/SB 1780, SB 1086)

Sponsors: Rep. Alex Andrade and Sen. Jason Brodeur

  • What it does: The Defamation Censorship bills are part of Governor DeSantis's effort to chill any free speech that is critical of the government, punish the media, and reverse Supreme Court precedent. They make it easier to sue the media or members of the public over criticism of public officials and others. SB 1780 specifically makes claims of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia "defamation per se'' that are presumed to be false and defamatory. It also reduces the evidence that a defendant can use to prove the allegation is true. 
  • What happened: HB 757 PASSED its first committee. Next, it heads to the House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee, its second of three committee stops. 

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the  House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee and urge them to vote NO on HB 757. Click here to send a message.

Volunteers meeting with Rep. Patricia Williams to discuss our legislative slate!


In addition to the bad bills that moved this week or are scheduled to be heard next week, we also need to keep up the pressure on the bills, both bad AND good, that may move later this session. 




We’re keeping up the pressure on lawmakers to support and co-sponsor these bills, and we need your help. 


🏆 The Health Care Freedom Act (SB 1404/HB 1283) 🏆

Sponsors: Rep. Anna V. Eskamani and Sen. Shevrin Jones

  • Restores Reproductive Rights: Repeals Governor DeSantis’ 15-Week and 6-Week Abortion Bans, reinstating abortion access up until the start of the third trimester, in line with broader medical and legal standards.
  • Protects Medical Care For Transgender People: Eliminates restrictions on essential medical care for transgender individuals, ensuring access to treatments supported by leading medical authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. 

🏆 Freedom to Learn Act (SB 1414/HB 1355) 🏆

Sponsors: Rep. Michele Rayner and Sen. Tracie Davis

  • Safeguards Academic Freedom: Repeals provisions of the Stop WOKE Act and the “Don’t Say LGBTQ” law, protecting the right to discuss systemic injustices and LGBTQ topics in educational settings.
  • Promotes Inclusive Education: Mandates the inclusion of LGBTQ history in public education, alongside Holocaust education, African American history, and women's contributions, and restricts book-banning practices by limiting who can raise objections to school materials to only parents of public school students. 

Click here to send a message to lawmakers urging them to support these two bills.




Don’t Say Gay or Trans at Work (HB 599/SB 1382)

Sponsors: Rep. Ryan Chamberlin and Sen. Jonathan Martin

  • Expands Don’t Say Gay or Trans to the Workplace: Aims to expand provisions of the Don’t Say Gay or Trans law into public and private workplaces and nonprofits. This alarming expansion of political control and censorship will prohibit government employees or contractors from being required to respect an individual's preferred pronouns if they don’t align with the individual's sex assigned at birth. It also bars them from sharing their own preferred pronouns if not aligned with their sex assigned at birth, which significantly impacts transgender employees’ ability to express their identity. 
  • Restricts LGBTQ+ Nonprofits and Education: The bill seeks to ban tax-exempt nonprofits or employers receiving state funds from conducting any “activities” or training related to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression as a condition of employment. It also introduces protections for so-called "biology-based beliefs," essentially providing a legal shield for discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. This could have dire consequences for LGBTQ+ organizations and advocacy groups in Florida, potentially forcing them to cease operations or significantly alter their missions.

Equality Florida joins the Pride Chamber from Central Florida for a press conference to speak out against anti-transgender bills


Trans Erasure Bill (HB 1233, HB 1639)

Sponsors: Rep. Dean Black and Rep. Doug Bankson

  • Erases Transgender Identities: Aims to eliminate the acknowledgment of gender identity in government documents, replacing it with the sex assigned at birth. This bill specifically targets transgender individuals by forbidding updates to driver's licenses or government IDs that reflect their gender identity, potentially affecting intersex, non-binary, and transgender individuals in securing accurate identification.
  • Mandates Coverage for Conversion Therapy and Impedes Gender-Affirming Care: Requires coverage for conversion therapy while complicating the coverage for gender-affirming care. This could lead to a reduction in accessible healthcare for transgender Floridians, as insurers may be discouraged from providing coverage for gender-affirming care to avoid the complexities imposed by the bill. It also requires that health plans offering gender-affirming care also cover de-transitioning procedures and allow for cheaper plans excluding gender-affirming care.

Click here to send a message to lawmakers opposing BOTH these heinous bills.

As we continue on over the next 49 days, we must remember that our voices matter, our actions matter, and our movement matters.


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Together, we will resist, and we will make a difference. 



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