Resistance Report Week 3: Bad Bills Are Moving

Earlier this week, our absentee governor returned to Florida after facing a humiliating loss in his bid for president. Now, DeSantis’s full attention is back on attacking the fundamental rights and freedoms of Floridians as he continues to escalate his extreme agenda of censorship and government control. 

There’s A LOT happening right now. But your Equality Florida team is on the ground in Tallahassee every single day to keep you informed and make sure you have the tools to fight back against these attacks! 

In addition to a number of bad bills moving through the legislative process (which we’ll get into below!), the Florida Board of Governors met on Wednesday and approved unprecedented rules that effectively abolish diversity and inclusion programs in our State University System intended to support LGBTQ and minority students. The rules extend beyond their legislative authority, provoking concerns of broad censorship and self-censorship that could end academic freedom as we know it on university campuses.

The Board also controversially removed sociology as a core course, an unresearched decision made with minimal consideration of its impact. This move, along with the overarching censorship agenda, severely tarnishes the prestige and reputation of Florida’s public universities. 

Equality Florida staff and volunteers joined students and teachers at FSU to speak out against these rules at the Board of Governors meeting. 

Students with Youth Action Fund Protesting The Florida Board of Governors Attacks On Academic Freedom.

Our Pride At The Capitol program is in full swing! This session-long campaign 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.  

This week’s WINNERS are Representatives Robin Bartleman and Marie Woodson for their sharp questioning, testimony, and votes against The Policing Safe Space Stickers Bill (HB 833). These lawmakers championed the rights of local law enforcement agencies to create safe places for LGBTQ and other marginalized communities, including programs that were critical in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. *Honorable Mention: We also appreciate Representative Michael Gottlieb for offering pointed questions and testimony on the legislation.

This week’s LOSER is Governor Ron DeSantis, who failed in his presidential bid because he failed Floridians. He launched an all-out attack on our basic freedoms, demonized LGBTQ people, fomented racial division, and more. His attempt to pander to right-wing extremists and out-Trump Trump backfired, as voters across the country recognized the dangers of his platform and his willingness to silence all those who oppose him. The tide is turning here in Florida, as well, and people are growing tired of his so-called anti-woke agenda that does nothing to solve real problems. We’ll continue to highlight these policies to make sure every Floridian knows that DeSantis and his allies are working AGAINST all of us as part of a cynical political strategy. 

Week #3 of the 2024 legislative session saw more movement on bad bills, so we’re going to take you through exactly what happened, what’s coming, and how you can get involved.  


🚨 OPPOSE: The Transgender Erasure Bill (HB 1639)🚨

Sponsors: 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 costly new barriers to accessing lifesaving care, and increases Floridians' insurance premiums, LGBTQ or not. The bill requires all health insurance plans in the state to cover the widely debunked, fraudulent and dangerous practice of “conversion therapy”, specifically for gender identity. Additionally, it requires that government driver license and ID card applications collect information on applicants’ sex assigned at birth rather than their gender.
  • What happened: HB 1639 passed out of its first House committee by a party-line vote. Next, it heads to the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee right away and urge them to vote NO on HB 1639. Click here to send a message. 

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 or displaying 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’s coming: SB 1120 has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Monday, January 29. HB 901 is awaiting a scheduled hearing in the House State Affairs Committee. 
  • How you can help: Send an email to lawmakers on the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and the House State Affairs Committee and urge them to vote NO on SB 1120/HB 901. Click here to send messages.

The “Stop WOKE Teacher Training” Bill (SB 1372/HB 1291)

Sponsor: Sen. Blaise Ingoglia and Rep. John Snyder

  • What it does: These bills would expand state censorship of viewpoints on racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege to State Board of Education’s teacher training and preparation courses for public and private postsecondary institutions, public school districts, and private providers. They build on existing harms created by DeSantis’ so-called Stop W.O.K.E. Act, which federal courts have partially put on hold, while further restricting the ability of educators to lead 21st century classrooms with honest and accurate discussions that reckon with our past to create a better future for our students.
  • What happened: SB 1372 passed out of the Senate Education Postsecondary Committee by a party-line vote. Next, it heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education. HB 1291 is awaiting a scheduled hearing in the House Postsecondary Education & Workforce Subcommittee. 

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and urge them to vote NO on SB 1372. Click here to send a message. 


The Preemption of Employment Protections Bill (HB 433/SB 1492)

Sponsors: Rep. Esposito and Sen. Trumbull

  • What it does: The Preemption of Employment Protections bill threatens existing and future local employment nondiscrimination protections. It would repeal or ban cities and counties from adopting nondiscrimination policies or employment benefits, which already protect 60% of Floridians. This is an attack on local freedom and a dramatic rollback of local policies that have been in place with broad support from the public and businesses for years.
  • What happened: An amended version of SB 1492 passed out of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, which removed broad provisions related to ”wage or employment benefits” but still attacks the freedom of local governments to protect outdoor workers from heat stress. The House version, HB 433, heads to the House State Affairs Committee next. 

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House State Affairs Committee and urge them to oppose HB 433. Click here to send a message

The Policing Safe Space Stickers Bill (HB 833/SB 1708)

Sponsors: Rep. Yarkosky and Sen. Yarborough

  • What it does: The bill prohibits local law enforcement agencies from using “safe space” stickers or signage to increase hate crime reporting or to signal security and refuge for the LGBTQ community. It repeals existing local “safe space” programs and is a direct retaliation against a Lake County law enforcement agency and municipality that worked together to create a program in 2023. It also requires these agencies to generalize their training programs, making them less responsive to unique community needs.
  • What happened: HB 833 was passed out of the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee. It now heads to the House Judiciary Committee. 

  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to oppose HB 833. Click here to send a message.

Equality Florida Joined The League of Women Voters Press Conference To Call Out Attacks On Freedom

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 PrEP & PEP Access Bill (HB 159/SB 1320) 🏆

Sponsors: Rep. Franklin and Sen. Calatayud

  • What it does: There have been tremendous advances in fighting HIV and AIDS, and the PrEP & PEP Access bill facilitates access to medications that are critical to preventing HIV transmission. The legislation recognizes scientific advances and allows people to take personal responsibility for their health, thereby improving public health and moving Florida toward ending the HIV epidemic.
  • What’s coming: SB 1320 has its first hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee this Tuesday, January 30. 
  • How you can help: We need you to contact members of the Senate Health Policy Committee and urge them to vote YES on SB 1320. Click here to send a message. 

🏆  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: Requires 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 the two Freedom 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.

Click here to send a message to lawmakers urging them to oppose this bad bill.

As we continue on over the next 42 days, we must remember that our voices matter, our actions matter, and our movement matters.

Make sure you’re following us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and TikTok for the latest updates. 

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


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