Resistance Report Week 6: The Fight Back & Protests Continue
This week, Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee advanced Governor DeSantis's Slate of Hate with startling efficiency, pushing bad bill after bad bill through committee and floor votes at warp speed.
I'm not going to lie to you,, this session may get worse. We’ve seen hatred and bigotry running rampant in the state legislature, and we’ve seen our governor once again put his own political ambitions ahead of the interests of the people he’s supposed to represent.
But our collective resistance is growing stronger. We’ve shown up in committee hearings, in the Capitol, outside the Capitol, and throughout our communities to make our voices heard. And we’re going to continue to do so every day of these last three weeks of session.
A big THANK YOU again to our volunteer advocates who joined us in Tallahassee this week to attend hearings and testify on various bad bills as part of our session-long Pride at the Capitol Campaign.
Volunteer advocates in the Capitol to testify against anti-trans bills
A team of North Florida advocates showing up in committee to oppose the License to Discriminate in Healthcare bill (HB 1403)
Volunteer advocates testifying against the anti-trans bathroom bill (HB 1521) in committee
We’re mobilizing weekly, in-person and virtually, to fight back against DeSantis’ fascist agenda. Will you stand with us and join the resistance?
We’re facing an unprecedented level of attacks from the Florida GOP, but together, we will continue our resistance.
This week’s WINNER is pro-equality champion, House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell. She’s been a strong, outspoken supporter for our community all session, and this week, she released a strong statement against the vile remarks made by our LOSER of the week, Rep. Webster Barnaby.
During a hearing Monday on The Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill (HB 1521), Rep. Barnaby went on a 6-minute hate-filled rant, calling transgender people “mutants, demons, and imps.” He gave a weak non-apology, and a few hours later, he was retweeting his comments proudly and using the X-Men logo as his banner on Twitter. GOP leadership has remained completely silent and complicit, not issuing any sort of condemnation of the attack Rep. Barnaby launched on parents and children who traveled to the hearing and on the broader trans community in Florida. We are calling on Rep. Barnaby to RESIGN immediately following this barrage of hate, and we’re asking you to CALL Speaker Paul Renner at 850-717-5019 and demand he CENSURE Rep. Barnaby for his comments during the hearing on this bill and WITHDRAW this hateful legislation. You can send a message to Speaker Renner as well.
After a short week of session last week, there was a LOT of movement on bills in Tallahassee this week. We’re going to take you through exactly what happened and what you can do to get involved.
To start, here are the legislative updates on the MOST URGENT bad bills from week 6 of session:
🚨 The Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill (HB 1521/ SB 1674) 🚨
What you need to know: This bill criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that matches the gender they live every day. It prohibits gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities in schools, private businesses, public shelters, healthcare facilities, and jails. Transgender people are part of our families, workplaces, and our neighborhoods, and this law makes it impossible for them to go about their daily lives like other Floridians. It also opens the door to abuse, mistreatment, and more.
On Monday, the House version of this bill (HB 1521) advanced out of its second and FINAL committee stop with a vote of 14-5. Click here to watch the moving testimony from Kaleb, a trans Floridian who testified during the hearing.
How you can get involved: HB 1521 will be on the HOUSE FLOOR on Tuesday, April 18. Make sure you send a message to House lawmakers urging them to VOTE NO on HB 1521.
We’re also asking you to CALL Speaker Paul Renner at 850-717-5019 and demand he CENSURE Rep. Barnaby for his comments during the hearing on this bill and WITHDRAW this hateful legislation. You can send a message to Speaker Renner as well.
🚨The Trans Ban Bill (HB 1421) 🚨
What you need to know: This bill is a direct attack on the existence of transgender youth and adults, including government-forced detransition for minors currently accessing gender-affirming healthcare. It seeks to deny legal recognition via birth certificates for all ages, deny ALL gender-affirming care to minors, dramatically restrict access to care for adults, deny private insurance coverage to the extent care is available, and revoke licensure for health care providers who follow standards of medical care for transgender Floridians that are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and other leading medical authorities. The bill was also amended to allow courts to modify custody agreements in favor of a non-affirming parent and against the interest of an affirming parent, and to add a ban on the use of telehealth for gender-affirming care for trans adults.
How you can get involved: This bill will be on the HOUSE FLOOR next Tuesday, April 18. Send a message to House lawmakers telling them to VOTE NO on HB 1421. You can also CALL these Representatives and keep the pressure on!
Rep. Susan Plasencia - 850-717-5037
Rep. David Smith - 850-717-5038
Rep. Carolina Amesty - 850-717-5045
Rep. Paula Stark - 850-717-5047
Rep. Fabián Basabe - 850-717-5106
Rep. Peggy Gossett-Seidman - 850-717-5091
Rep. Vicki Lopez - 850-717-5113
Rep. Chip LaMarca - 850-717-5100
Rep. Will Robinson - 850-717-5071
Rep. Jim Mooney - 850-717-5120
🚨 The License to Discriminate in Healthcare Bill (HB 1403/SB 1580) 🚨
What you need to know: This bill prioritizes personal beliefs over patient well-being. It would allow healthcare providers and insurers to deny a patient care on the basis of religious, moral or ethical beliefs. It creates a license to discriminate by allowing healthcare employers to discriminate in hiring, and it bars medical Boards from disciplining doctors for spreading misinformation. No one should be denied access to critical medical care.
The House version of this bill (HB 1403) advanced out of its second and FINAL committee stop on Monday with a vote of 11-5.
How you can get involved: HB 1403 will now move to the House floor for a full vote. Make sure you send a message to House lawmakers urging them to VOTE NO on HB 1403.
🚨 The Anti-Drag Bill (HB 1423/ SB 1438) 🚨
What you need to know: This discriminatory bill threatens excessive fines and license revocation against LGBTQ-friendly businesses, and possible jail time for individuals who admit minors into ‘adult live performances’. It uses vague and subjective language that will have a chilling effect on drag shows, an intended consequence of the bill. Like book bans and curriculum censorship, heavy-handed government regulation of drag is part of an ongoing effort to marginalize the LGBTQ community and their allies. Republican lawmakers also introduced an amendment to expand their bill to include drag shows at city pride parades in an attempt to scare LGBTQ-friendly cities out of permitting any drag at all.
The Senate version of this bill (SB 1438) was heard on the Senate floor Tuesday and passed with a vote of 28-12.
The House version of this bill (HB 1423) was heard in its second stop on Wednesday and advanced after a 10-5 vote. Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) delivered powerful testimony during the hearing, click here to watch and share.
How you can get involved: HB 1423 was pulled from its third committee stop and is now scheduled for the HOUSE FLOOR on Tuesday, April 18. Contact representatives right away to urge them to oppose this bill!
We also want to hold the Senators accountable that voted to pass SB 1438. Call these Senators, who represent districts with large pro-equality voter blocs, right away to express your disappointment:
Senator Corey Simon (SD 3) - (850) 487-5003
Senator Joe Gruters (SD 22) - (850) 487-5022
Senator Jay Collins (SD 14) - (850) 487-5014
Senator Illeana Garcia (SD 36) - (850) 487-5036
Senator Alexis Calatayud (SD 38) - (850) 487-5038
🚨 “Don’t Say LGBTQ” Expansion Bill (HB 1069/SB 1320) 🚨
What you need to know: This bill would expand the Don’t Say LGBTQ law’s censorship provisions to 8th grade and revoke the right of parents to determine which pronouns the school system will use to address their own children. It would permit MORE book-banning and mandate IMMEDIATE REMOVAL of school books targeted for objection before they’re even reviewed. This bill would also revoke local school districts’ ability to craft comprehensive sex education, handing control of curriculum to the State Department of Education and further politicizing our classrooms.
The Senate version of this bill (SB 1320) advanced out of its second and FINAL committee stop on Thursday after a vote of 14-6.
How you can get involved: SB 1320 will now face a vote on the Senate floor. Click here to contact lawmakers and tell them to vote OPPOSE SB 1320 and the expansion of the cruel “Don’t Say LGBTQ” law.
🚨 The 6-Week Abortion Ban Bill (HB 7/SB 300) 🚨
What you need to know: This bill would BAN abortion in Florida after 6 weeks, a dramatic escalation from last year’s already extreme 15-week ban. Because of how early the ban kicks in, this is a near-total abortion ban, meaning many will be forced by our state government to carry their pregnancies to term. This bill is a direct attack on bodily autonomy and personal freedom.
The House version of this bill (HB 7) was substituted with the Senate version (SB 300) and heard on the House floor this week. During debate, the gallery was cleared out and protestors voicing their discontent on the bill were forced to leave. After several attempts to amend the bill to be less extreme failed, including an amendment proposed by Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando) to fund rape crisis centers, SB 300 passed with a vote of 70 to 40.
*After 48 amendments to mitigate the extremism of the near total abortion ban were voted down, Representatives Mike Caruso (R-West Palm Beach), Karen Gonzalez Pittman (R-Tampa), Peggy Gossett-Seidman (R-Boca Raton), Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven), Chip Lamarca (R-Lighthouse Point), Vicki Lopez (R-Coral Gables), and Rick Roth (R-Belle Glade) were the only House Republicans to vote against SB 300. Representative Fabián Basabe left the room and did not vote.
How you can get involved: Both the House and Senate versions of this bill have been approved on the floors of their respective chambers.And last night, moments before midnight, Governor DeSantis quietly signed the bill - revoking the fundamental rights and freedoms of millions of Floridians.
**TO BE CLEAR: Abortion remains legal in Florida until 15 weeks. The 6-week abortion ban’s effective date is tied to the outcome of a Florida Supreme Court ruling on your constitutional right to privacy expected later this year.
Make sure you’re following Florida Planned Parenthood Action for additional updates on what’s next. You can donate to this important fund to help reduce barriers to abortion access, advocate for abortion justice, and disrupt abortion stigma.
In addition to these particularly high-priority bills, there was also movement on a couple of other bills this week.
Here are the rest of the legislative updates you need to know:
The Defamation Censorship Bill (HB 991/SB 1220)
What you need to know: This bill would make it easier to sue the media or members of the public over criticism of public officials. It’s a direct attack on the right to free speech, going against Supreme Court precedent. The House version of the bill (HB 991) makes it so claims of sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia are presumed to be false and defamatory, while restricting how the claims can be proved.
The Senate version of this bill (SB 1220) was scheduled to be heard in the Rules Committee earlier this week, but it was temporarily postponed.
How you can get involved: HB 991 could be scheduled for a vote on the House floor any day now, and SB 1220 is still awaiting a vote in the Rules Committee. Click here to tell lawmakers to OPPOSE these bills.
Partisan School Board Elections (HB 31/SB 94)
What you need to know: This resolution seeks to make Florida school board elections partisan. School Boards have been nonpartisan since 1998. Now they are under fire, targeted by extremists for putting children’s needs and safety first. School Boards should be about student success – not partisan battlefields.
The Senate version of this resolution (SB 94) was heard in its third and FINAL committee on Tuesday and passed after a vote of 14-5.
How you can get involved: SB 94 is now awaiting a vote on the Senate floor. Click here to find your Senator’s contact info and tell them to OPPOSE this resolution.
As you know, Florida has adopted a slate of hateful laws and is fast-tracking additional measures that directly target the rights of LGBTQ individuals and our basic freedoms. The Governor has also shown a frightening willingness to weaponize state agencies against us with impunity, impose sanctions on LGBTQ-friendly businesses, and seek retribution against companies who speak out against his attacks on our community.
That’s why, with a heavy heart, we officially issued a travel advisory for Florida to warn of the risks posed to the health, safety, and freedom of those considering short or long term travel, or relocation to the state.
This extraordinary move comes in response to a wave of safety inquiries we’ve received from Floridians and those considering vacation or relocation to the state as Governor DeSantis’ Slate of Hate continues to dominate the news. Already, the adopted and proposed policies detailed in the travel advisory have led Florida parents to consider relocating, prospective students to cross Florida colleges and universities off their lists, events and conferences to cancel future gatherings, and the United States military to offer redeployment for service members whose families are now unsafe in the state.
The advisory warns of the impact of bills that have passed, and are expected to pass, that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety protections, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books, censoring curriculum, and muzzling free speech.
The Florida GOP’s far-right agenda has gained national notoriety, but our resistance movement is also growing and getting attention!
With your help, we’re going to continue this fight until the last day of session and beyond.
And we’re not just fighting in Tallahassee, we’re showing up throughout our communities, too. Earlier today, constituents showed up at Representative Fabián Basabe’s office to protest against the anti-LGBTQ votes he’s taken in the state legislature. Rep. Basabe campaigned on protecting our community, but has repeatedly betrayed us. He’s unfit for the job and should resign immediately!
Students and community leaders are hosting rallies throughout the state opposing DeSantis’ fascist agenda and speaking out against his Slate of Hate. We’re keeping track of upcoming rallies — find one near you!
Throughout the rest of session, we’re going to be continuing our Pride at the Capitol campaign in-person in Tallahassee, hosting virtual events, and using our social media to post updates, call out Florida lawmakers, and more.