New Poll: Seven in 10 Floridians Favor Laws Protecting LGBT People from Discrimination

-National poll shows Florida attitudes align with national sentiment-

(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) – Seventy percent of Floridians favor laws that would protect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing, according to a report released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). The poll comes just days after the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee heard legislation that would have updated Florida law to extend such protections to the LGBT community. While senators on the committee voted down Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) in a five-to-five vote on Feb. 8, proponents remain optimistic, as it was the first time state lawmakers agreed to hear the bill.

“We are proud to have had this pro-business legislation heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee and will continue to educate stakeholders that in order for our state to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we must eliminate any and all discrimination in the workplace, in housing and in public accommodations,” said Campaign Manager of the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, Patrick Slevin. “The PRRI study reiterates what we have been telling lawmakers: The Competitive Workforce Act has bipartisan support, and the public wants to see it passed.”

The PRRI surveyed nearly 43,000 Americans via telephone from May through December 2015. Nearly 2,600 of the respondents were from Florida. Some of the other key findings from the survey are:

  • Seventy-one percent of Americans support non-discrimination laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations.
  • Sixty-one percent of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats favor such laws.
  • Fifty-nine percent of Americans oppose allowing religious-based service refusals.
  • Fifty-eight percent of Floridians oppose allowing religious-based service refusals.

“Despite the fact that there are 28 states that have no LGBT nondiscrimination laws, there is near consensus support—across partisan, religious, geographic, and demographic lines—for laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. Even among groups that are more opposed to same-sex marriage, solid majorities nonetheless favor LGBT nondiscrimination laws,” said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, according to a news release from the PRRI.

 

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, aim to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of FBCW, respectively.

The PRRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research at the intersection of religion, values and public life. To view additional details of PRRI’s findings, click here.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Statement from Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce’s Campaign Manager Patrick Slevin on Senate Bill 120 Heard by Senate Judiciary Committee

February 10, 2016 by Import

Fortune 500 companies, major employers, 400+ businesses push for passage of the Competitive Workforce Act-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) –Members of the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee today voted to temporarily postpone Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach). The bipartisan legislation, commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, simply aims to update the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition issued the following statement from Campaign Manager Patrick Slevin.

“The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition is grateful to committee chairman, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami), for his tireless efforts in getting SB 120 heard before his committee – an historic first for this issue. We thank Sen. Abruzzo and Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) for their leadership in sponsoring the anti-discrimination legislation. Thank you also to Sen. David Simmons (R-Longwood) for his work in strengthening the measure through the amendment process.

“On Monday, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and CIO of Tech Data Corporation, a Fortune 500 company in Clearwater, who explained the importance of the Competitive Workforce Act. Others stood to waive in support including John Faith of DTCC Tampa, Christopher Gassett of HSN, along with AT&T, CSX, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are proud to have had this pro-business legislation heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to have secured strong support from Republicans and Democrats on this pro-business issue. We will continue to educate elected officials that in order for our state to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we must eliminate any and all discrimination in the workplace, in housing and in public accommodations. We are confident that Florida leaders will do the right thing and end this state sanctioned discrimination.”

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. SB 120 and its companion in the Florida House of Representatives, House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), aim to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law. The bill has bipartisan support in both chambers.

Top employers in the state have united to form the FBCW coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-seven major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of FBCW, respectively.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition Letter to Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee

February 5, 2016 by Import

M E M O R A N D U M

DATE:     Friday, February 5, 2016

TO:          Interested Media

FROM:   Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition, Contact Courtney Heidelberg, 850.391.5040, [email protected]

RE:          Coalition Letter to Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Top executives, and business and community leaders representing the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition signed and today delivered a letter to members of the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee.

The letter, on behalf of the FBCW coalition and comprised of nine Fortune 500 companies, 28 major employers and more than 400 local businesses, provides information on why SB 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) and HB 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) must be heard in committee.

Senator Abruzzo stated that “In order to remain economically competitive in a global marketplace, Florida must provide an environment that is welcoming to all. Overwhelmingly, our nation’s largest companies have endorsed the Competitive Workforce Act because it’s good for business and because it’s the right thing to do.”

SB 120 is scheduled to be heard on Monday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 110, Senate Office Building.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Top Florida Employers Urge Lawmakers to Vote “Yes” for Competitive Workforce Act Today

January 26, 2016 by Import

Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce push for passage of Senate Bill 120 in Senate Judiciary Committee meeting scheduled for 1 p.m. today-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Top executives, and business and community leaders representing the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition joined lawmakers in the State Capitol this morning to demonstrate support for a pro-business issue slated to be heard by Florida lawmakers today. Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, is scheduled to be heard by lawmakers in today’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting at 1 p.m.

“I am honored to champion the Competitive Workforce Act in the Florida Senate and want to thank committee chairman, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami), for placing the bill on today’s agenda,” said Abruzzo. “In order to remain economically competitive in a global marketplace, Florida must provide an environment that is welcoming to all. Overwhelmingly, our nation’s largest companies have endorsed the Competitive Workforce Act because it’s good for business and because it’s the right thing to do. Senate Bill 120, Prohibited Discrimination, affirms the importance of basic human rights.”

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. SB 120 and its companion in the Florida House of Representatives, House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), aim to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law. The bill has bipartisan support in both chambers.

“Passing the Competitive Workforce Act will make our state more attractive to top talent, especially now that the Millennial generation is the largest segment of the U.S. labor force,” said FBCW Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “This is the first time the legislation has been heard by Florida lawmakers, and we look forward to showcasing the support from business leaders in today’s committee meeting.”

Top employers in the state have united to form the FBCW coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-seven major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

Here’s what coalition businesses had to say…

“Our operations and business partners are global, and the competition to attract top tech talent is steep. One of the avenues to develop and extend the talent pool in the state is to show Florida is open for business, opportunistic and a safe and welcoming environment to build a career and raise a family. The Competitive Workforce Act is an important way of signaling that Florida is a destination for talented workers and businesses,” said John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and CIO of Tech Data Corporation, Florida’s second largest public company employing 9,000 associates.

“Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry employs more than 1.1 million Floridians making it the state’s number one industry. Passing the Competitive Workforce Act  would offer protections for everyone using public accommodations and further demonstrate our state is a welcoming and safe place to visit,” said Carol Dover, President/CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, which represents more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers and attractions.

“We are backing the Competitive Workforce Act because it provides additional discrimination protections in housing, and Florida Realtors® believes everyone should have a chance at the American dream of homeownership,” said Bill Martin, CEO of Florida Realtors®, the state’s largest trade association boasting more than 155,000 members.

“Hispanics have powered Florida’s population growth since 2000, currently ranking third in the country. The Competitive Workforce Act will not only benefit our network of 80,000 small business owners, but all Floridians as a welcoming place to work and grow a business,”  said Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julio Fuentes.

“Three out of four Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination protections, and 37 Florida counties and municipalities already provide fully inclusive protections to residents, covering 55 percent of Florida’s population. That said, there has not been a huge wave of lawsuits filed as a result. Passing the Competitive Workforce Act is the right thing to do for Florida businesses and those who live here,” said Jason Altmire, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Engagement at Florida Blue, and former member of Congress (2007-13).

 The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of FBCW, respectively.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Joins Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce

January 21, 2016 by Import

Chamber 80,000-network-strong adds heft to statewide coalition pushing for passage of the Competitive Workforce Act-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) welcomed the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (FSHCC) to the statewide coalition today. Recognized as one of the Top Five Chambers in the Nation by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, FSHCC communicates with a network of 80,000 Hispanic small business owners in Florida.

“We are ecstatic to have the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on board,” said FBCW Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “Their backing and the support of other chambers and small businesses around the state reinforce that businesses of all sizes want to see Florida lawmakers pass the Competitive Workforce Act.”

The support of the chambers, such as the FSHCC, further demonstrates what polls are revealing.  Eight in 10 entrepreneurs support a federal law to protect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) individuals against discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses that are open to the public, according to a national poll conducted in April 2015.*

“As Florida’s first, and only, statewide business advocacy organization concentrated on the Hispanic business community, we strongly support passing the Competitive Workforce Act,” said FSHCC President and CEO Julio Fuentes. “Hispanics have powered Florida’s population growth since 2000, currently ranking third in the country. The Competitive Workforce Act will not only benefit our network of 80,000 small business owners, but all Floridians as a welcoming place to work and grow a business.”

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

*Source: Opinion Poll: Small Business Owners Oppose Denying Services to LGBT Customers Based on Religious Beliefs; Small Business Majority, July 13, 2015

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

 About Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The FSHCC’s mission is to promote the economic advancement of Florida’s Hispanic Business community, with a focus on economic and political empowerment. Through its public advocacy efforts, FSHCC improves the quality of life of every Hispanic in Florida. The organization boasts a network of 80,000 small business owners throughout the state. Learn more about the FSHCC at www.FSHCC.com.

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Senator Travis Hutson Becomes Second Republican to Co-Introduce Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act in the Senate

January 15, 2016 by Import

Legislation would prohibit discrimination in the workplace, public housing and accommodations-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) today joined Florida Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) in becoming the second GOP Senator to co-introduce the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, a bill aimed at protecting Florida’s LGBT community against discrimination in the workplace, public housing and accommodations. Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) and House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), if passed, would update the Civil Rights Act of 1992.

“Thank you to Sen. Travis Hutson for his leadership and support of this pro-business, anti-discrimination legislation,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “To have two Republican Senators, and nine GOP House members leading the effort to ensure Florida remains competitive in the global marketplace is very encouraging as we head into the second week of Session.”

“I have always been a vocal supporter of this pro-business issue and believe there is a fundamental flaw in a society that condones the firing of someone simply because they are LGBT,” said Sen. Hutson. “I am pleased to join Sen. Latvala and my colleagues in the House to co-sponsor this very important piece of legislation. While there are some concerns I have for others to sue unjustifiably, I am confident that will be addressed through the committee process.”

Republican members in the House signing onto HB 45 include Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers), Tom Goodson (R-Titusville), Bill Hager (R-Delray Beach), Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater), Mike Miller (R-Winter Park), Kathleen Peters (R-Treasure Island), Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) and Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando).

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including nine Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

In addition to its Fortune 500 members, the coalition includes 27 large businesses and organizations: Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, DTCC, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Miami Heat, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Raymond James, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity and Winn Dixie.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. The Competitive Workforce Act aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Florida Realtors Support Fair Housing, Anti-Discrimination Measure before the Florida Legislature

January 11, 2016 by Import

State anti-discrimination protections a top priority for LGBT homebuyers

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – In a nationwide survey, 97 percent of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) respondents said living in a state with an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance is important, with three out of four respondents saying it is “very important.” This ranked second only to “living in a neighborhood with low crime.” Furthermore, 73 percent of LGBT people are strongly concerned about some aspect of housing discrimination, either in purchasing a home or renting.*

As real estate professionals embark upon the State Capitol for Great American Realtors Days on Jan. 12 and 13, Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) wants to thank Florida Realtors® for taking a stand as a member of the coalition of 36 major companies and organizations pushing for passage of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. The bipartisan legislation is filed as House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach).

“We are thrilled to have Florida Realtors®, the state’s largest trade association, as a coalition partner,” said Patrick Slevin, FBCW campaign manager. “Their advocacy for fair-housing and property rights aligns with the coalition’s efforts to update the Civil Rights Act of 1992.”

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. The Competitive Workforce Act aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

“Florida Realtors® is pleased to support the Competitive Workforce Act to ensure everyone has an opportunity to realize the American dream of homeownership,” said Bill Martin, CEO of Florida Realtors®. “Our beautiful state has so much to offer to those who choose to make Florida their home.”

Top companies in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Nine Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

*Statistics provided are from the 2015 LGBT Home Buyer and Seller Survey, conducted by The National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

About Florida Realtors®
The mission of Florida Realtors® is to advance Florida’s real estate industry by shaping public policy on real property issues; encouraging, promoting and teaching consistent standards for ethical practice and professionalism; and building on the efforts of local Boards/Associations to provide the information and tools members need to succeed. Florida Realtors® is the largest trade association in the state with more than 140,000 members. Learn more at www.FloridaRealtors.org.

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Senator Jack Latvala First Republican to Co-Introduce Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act in the Senate

January 5, 2016 by Import

Legislation would prohibit discrimination in the workplace, public housing and accommodations-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) today became the first Republican Senator to co-introduce the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, a bill aimed at protecting Florida’s LGBT community against discrimination in the workplace, public housing and accommodations. Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) and House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) would update the Civil Rights Act of 1992.

“On behalf of the nine Fortune 500 companies, 27 major employers and more than 400 local businesses here in our state and part of the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, we want to thank Senator Latvala for supporting this important and historic piece of legislation,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “Not only is this a pro-business issue facing our state and critical to its economic viability, it is the right thing to do. We hope this serves as an example for other Republican members to support this measure heading into the 2016 Legislative Session.”

Republican members in the House signing onto HB 45 include Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers), Tom Goodson (R-Titusville), Bill Hager (R-Delray Beach), Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater), Mike Miller (R-Winter Park), Kathleen Peters (R-Treasure Island), Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) and Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando).

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including nine Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

In addition to its Fortune 500 members, the coalition includes 27 large businesses and organizations: Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, DTCC, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Miami Heat, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Raymond James, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity and Winn Dixie.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. The Competitive Workforce Act aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Recognizes Florida Cities Forging a Path to End Discrimination

December 22, 2015 by Import

– Three Florida Cities Make List of Top U.S. Cities for LGBT Inclusivity –

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition today recognized Florida cities for their leadership in providing anti-discrimination policies that protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.  Orlando, St. Petersburg and Wilton Manors (Broward County) each scored a perfect 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2015 Municipal Equality Index (MEI).  They were among 47 out of 408 rated cities across the country to achieve a perfect score.

“We are proud of all 37 counties and municipalities in Florida that have passed anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “While local ordinances currently protect 56 percent of Florida’s population, the lack of a fully inclusive, statewide anti-discrimination law leaves many Floridians vulnerable and without legal recourse. Simply put, this is bad for business.”

“Cities like Orlando, St. Petersburg and Wilton Manors are exhibiting courage and leadership, and the state would benefit economically by following their lead,” Slevin added.

In a recent blog, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer wrote, “As a result of our significant efforts, our MEI perfect score demonstrates the progress our community has made and validates our commitment to have an inclusive government that promotes diversity and benefits all sectors of society, including the LGBT community.”

In addition to recognizing cities that achieved a perfect score, the Human Rights Campaign named six Florida cities as MEI All-Stars for enacting LGBT-inclusive laws and policies in states that are lagging behind. Orlando, St. Petersburg, Wilton Manors, Tampa, Tallahassee and Oakland Park (Broward County) are among cities that made the nationwide list.

Below is a list of all 37 Florida counties and municipalities that have passed Human Rights Ordinances or resolutions banning discrimination against LGBT people.

Top employers in the state have united to form the FBCW coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including nine Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), also known as the Competitive Workforce Act, aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

To find the cities evaluated, scoring criteria and much more about the MEI, visit the Human Rights Campaign’s website.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

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Leading Employers in State’s Key Industries Support Competitive Workforce Act

December 9, 2015 by Import

Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce represents industries crucial to state’s economy-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida ranks 19th among the world’s largest economies, and top employers from industries critical to Florida’s economy are backing a bipartisan measure to make Florida more attractive to businesses and talent.  Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) is a statewide coalition pushing for passage of House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach).  The legislation, commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, would update the Civil Rights Act of 1992.

“Tourism, technology, infrastructure, banking and finance… these are all top industries in our state, and the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition represents these fields and others that are crucial to our economy,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “It is getting more difficult to attract talent for high paying jobs and to entice businesses to set up shop here. We have got to do everything we can as a state to make Florida the best place to live, work and play, and passing the Competitive Workforce Act is a step in the right direction.”

According to TechAmerica’s Cyberstates 2015, Florida ranks #3 in the U.S. for high-tech businesses.  John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and CIO of Tech Data Corporation, Florida’s second largest public company, serves as the FBCW coalition’s secretary. In the latest episode of Drumbeat Report, the coalition’s online video series, Tonnison goes on camera to explain why his company is taking a lead role in pushing for the Competitive Workforce Act:

“Our operations are in 25 countries, our customers are in 100 countries, and our vendor partners are on the West Coast and global. Each of those constituents, from our global employees to our global customers to our vendor partners, is highly diverse in their ethnicities, their religions, their belief systems, their backgrounds, their languages and their cultures. As such, cultural intelligence, wisdom and diversity in our workforce are vitally important. Being able to attract those with the best talents, with the best cultural intelligence, experience, maybe from other parts of the world, to Florida is vital. The Workforce Act is an important way of signaling that Florida is a destination for that kind of talent.”

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including nine Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

Florida’s transportation infrastructure plays a vital role in the state’s economic prosperity. Bob O’Malley, Vice President of Government Relations and Community Affairs for CSX, Florida’s seventh largest public company, explained in a recent episode of Drumbeat Report why the railroad company is backing HB 45/SB 120:

“At CSX, one of our core values is that people make the difference. We strive to have a diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce, not just in our recruiting practices, but also in our day-to-day operations. Here in our headquarters state, we are supporting the Competitive Workforce Act because it’s good for the state, it’s good business and we’d like to see other companies in the state follow our lead.”

In addition to its Fortune 500 members, the coalition includes 27 large businesses and organizations: Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, DTCC, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Miami Heat, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Raymond James, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity and Winn Dixie.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. The Competitive Workforce Act aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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DTCC Joins Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce

December 3, 2015 by Import

Coalition of major Florida employers pushes for passage of the Competitive Workforce Act-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce welcomed The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) to the statewide coalition today. DTCC is the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry. The company consistently has held the Human Rights Campaign’s “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” designation every year since 2013.

“We are thrilled to add DTCC to our coalition of major Florida employers backing the Competitive Workforce Act,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “Currently, 37 counties and municipalities in the state offer a patchwork of protections for gay and transgender residents through local non-discrimination ordinances. With help from DTCC and other coalition members, we aim to bring consistent protections to all Floridians.”

DTCC achieved a perfect 100 percent rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2016 (CEI). The CEI is America’s premier benchmarking tool for assessing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality in the workplace.

“Diversity is a key driver of innovation, and a critical component of DTCC’s success on a global scale,” said Mike Bodson, President and CEO. “We are pleased to join other businesses in support of the Competitive Workforce Act.”

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-six major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

 About DTCC
With over 40 years of experience, DTCC is the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry. From operating facilities, data centers and offices in 16 countries, DTCC, through its subsidiaries, automates, centralizes, and standardizes the post-trade processing of financial transactions, mitigating risk, increasing transparency and driving efficiency for thousands of broker/dealers, custodian banks and asset managers worldwide. User owned and industry governed, the firm simplifies the complexities of clearing, settlement, asset servicing, data management and information services across asset classes, bringing increased security and soundness to the financial markets. In 2014, DTCC’s subsidiaries processed securities transactions valued at approximately U.S. $1.6 quadrillion. Its depository provides custody and asset servicing for securities issues from over 130 countries and territories valued at U.S. $64 trillion. DTCC’s global trade repository maintains approximately 40 million open OTC positions and processes roughly 280 million messages a week. Learn more about DTCC at www.DTCC.com.

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Top Florida Employers Make National List of Best Places to Work for LGBTs

November 24, 2015 by Import

Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce highlights employers leading by example-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) published its Corporate Equality Index 2016, and 10 companies on the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition scored a perfect 100-percent rating on the annual report. Akerman LLP, AT&T, Florida Blue, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, Office Depot, Tech Data, The Walt Disney Company and Wells Fargo achieved a perfect score and a spot on HRC’s list of Best Places to Work.

“I’m extremely proud of the leadership the members of the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition provide to our state and the business community,” said Coalition Campaign Manager, Patrick Slevin. “Not only are they leading by example as illustrated in the Corporate Equality Index, but also they are working to make our state a better place to work, live and visit through their support and efforts to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.”

“Florida Blue’s score reflects the focus we’ve placed on diversity within the workforce, which we know helps us better understand who we serve,” said Pat Geraghty, Chairman and CEO of Florida Blue. “We are proud to be a leader on LGBT workplace inclusiveness in Florida, and being named a Best Place to Work acknowledges that. Engaged employees are a key ingredient for a business to be successful.” Geraghty serves as president of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce.

“At Akerman, we know that a diversity of ideas and experiences are essential to our culture of collaborative innovation and our continuing efforts to deliver an exceptional experience to our people, our clients and our communities. We are intensely focused on recruiting and retaining gifted lawyers and staff from all backgrounds and cultivating an environment that reflects the values and priorities of our firm,” said Akerman LLP’s Chairman and CEO, Andrew Smulian.

According to the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. Seventy-five percent have policies in place that protect workers based on gender identity. Since HRC first released the CEI 14 years ago, these rates have increased from 61 percent and 3 percent, respectively. The CEI is America’s premier benchmarking tool for assessing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality in the workplace. A total of 851 companies participated in the survey this year.

“We continue to build strength in numbers as we gear up for the 2016 Florida Legislative Session and encourage companies that value diversity and inclusion to join our coalition,” Slevin added.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. House Bill 45 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach), commonly referred to as the Competitive Workforce Act, aims to address this by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law. There are now 37 Florida counties and municipalities that have passed anti-discrimination measures to protect the LGBT community, representing 56 percent of Florida residents.

Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-five major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses on board.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.  For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Major Florida Employers Commend City of North Port for Banning LGBT Discrimination

November 2, 2015 by Import

-Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Seeks to Add Protections Statewide-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition today recognized the North Port City Council for its recent passage of a Human Rights Ordinance, which bans discrimination against gay and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. With a 3-1 vote in favor of the ordinance, North Port, located in Sarasota County, Fla., became the 36th municipality in the Sunshine State to offer such protections.

“Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce recognizes local governments, such as North Port, for supporting good public policy that fosters a pro-business environment,” said campaign manager, Patrick Slevin. “With the addition of the North Port ordinance, 11 million Floridians live in areas where protections for the LGBT community exist. The coalition aims to update state law so there is one uniform anti-discrimination law that blankets the state, providing consistency for businesses and employees, alike.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, gay and transgender people are currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. State Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) filed House Bill 45 and Senate Bill 120, respectively, to update the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law. Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce is a coalition of 34 large employers, including Fortune 500 companies, and more than 400 local businesses, that have joined forces to push for passage of the legislation, commonly known as the Competitive Workforce Act.

With the passage of the North Port ordinance, 36 counties and municipalities now offer protections, covering 56 percent of the state’s population. The bill would create a uniform law across the state, a move that major employers say is necessary for Florida to attract and retain talent and new jobs. Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce believes that passing statewide protections will give Florida a competitive advantage in today’s evolving marketplace.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman and Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.  For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

FBCW Coalition Members / Florida Fortune 500 (9) and Major Companies (26):
Fortune 500 – AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo. Major Companies – Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Miami Heat, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Raymond James, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, and Winn Dixie. For a list of the more than 400 local Florida businesses, go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com.

Florida Counties (11) and Municipalities (25) with Human Rights Ordinances in place:
Counties – Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Volusia. Municipalities – Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Miami Beach, Miami, North Port, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tequesta, Venice, Wellington, Wilton Manors, and West Palm Beach. The population of these counties and municipalities with HRO protections already in place represent 11 million of Florida’s 19 million residents, or 56 percent.

 

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New Poll:  68% of Florida Voters Support Statewide LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections

October 6, 2015 by Import

 

-Survey conducted by Coalition of Major Florida Employers Calling for Update in State Law-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – A new poll shows 68 percent of Florida voters support legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s nondiscrimination law. That’s a net 12 percent increase in support from similar polling conducted just two years ago.

The poll was conducted by Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW), a coalition of the state’s top employers who are calling on the legislature to make it illegal to fire a person from their job, deny them housing or public accommodations simply because they are gay or transgender. The group formed to support bipartisan legislation called the Florida Competitive Workforce Act that will be before the legislature when session begins in January.

“This poll sends an important message to our elected leaders. Floridians believe in fairness and equal opportunity and they want our laws to reflect those values,” said FBCW campaign manager Patrick Slevin. “Updating the law will help ensure that all people in our state – including people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – have the opportunity to be judged on their job performance and qualifications, nothing more, nothing less.”

The survey, conducted by Republican polling firm The Tarrance Group from August 22-25, 2015, was based on interviews of 600 likely voters in Florida, with a + 4.1 percent margin of error. Results also showed the following:

House Bill 45 by Republican State Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Senate Bill 120 by Democrat State Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) was filed in August and has received bipartisan support, with Republican House Members Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Ft. Myers), Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton), Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater), and Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) as co-sponsors.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. There are now 35 Florida counties and municipalities who have passed anti-discrimination measures against the LGBT community, representing 55 percent of Florida residents.

Top reasons Floridians overwhelmingly support the Competitive Workforce Act include:

Top employers in the state have united to form the Coalition that aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-five major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses onboard.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.  For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

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Pro-Business Coalition Congratulates the Village of Wellington and Town of Lake Clarke Shores for Becoming Florida’s 23rd and 24th Municipalities to Pass Anti-Discrimination Measures

September 16, 2015 by Import

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition campaign manager Patrick Slevin today applauded the Village of Wellington, Palm Beach County’s 5th largest municipality, and the Town of Lake Clarke Shores for taking bold steps to ensure Florida’s LGBT community is protected from discrimination. Wellington passed a local Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) late Thursday, September 10, and Lake Clarke Shores passed Resolution #15-22 supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals last evening. Wellington and Lake Clarke Shores join 22 other major cities and municipalities, along with 11 counties, which now have LGBT anti-discrimination protections in place.

“The coalition applauds both Wellington and Lake Clarke Shores who are the latest municipalities to join a statewide movement to protect Floridians from discrimination,” said Patrick Slevin, FBCW campaign manager. “Republicans and Democrats have come together in 35 municipalities to pass anti-discrimination ordinances that include gays and transgender. Nearly 55 percent of the state’s population is now protected at the local level, but we must pass state law to protect 100 percent of Floridians from discrimination. Our coalition is resolved to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act in this upcoming legislative session.”

At the state level, House Bill 45 and Senate Bill 120, filed by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) respectively, known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill is supported by the FBCW coalition comprised of 34 large employers, including Fortune 500 companies, and more than 400 local businesses.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. There are now 35 Florida counties and municipalities who have passed anti-discrimination measures against the LGBT community, representing 55 percent of Florida residents.

Top employers in the state have united to form the Coalition that aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-four major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses onboard.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of DTZ in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

Eleven (11) counties have passed Human Rights Ordinances:
Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Volusia.

Twenty-four (24) municipalities have passed Human Rights Ordinances or resolutions in support:
Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Miami Beach, Miami, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tequesta, Venice, Wellington, Wilton Manors, and West Palm Beach.

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Coalition of Major Florida Employers Applaud Filing of Anti-Discrimination Legislation for 2016 Session by Sen. Abruzzo and Rep. Raschein

August 11, 2015 by Import

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida State Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) and State Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) today filed legislation that will modernize Florida’s anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While 55% of Floridians already live in places that include these protections, the bill would create a uniform law across the state, a move that major employers say is necessary for Florida to attract and retain talent and new jobs. The bill, known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, is supported by the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition comprised of 34 large employers, including Fortune 500 companies, and more than 400 local businesses.

“Business leaders across Florida applaud Sen. Abruzzo and Rep. Raschein for filing this fundamental piece of legislation that will signal Florida as an inclusive state where success is determined by hard work, and not held back by legally sanctioned discrimination,” said coalition president Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Florida Blue.

“In order to remain economically competitive in a global marketplace, Florida must provide an environment that is welcoming to all. Recruiting and retaining talent regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity will only serve to enhance our reputation and augment our economic viability,” said Sen. Abruzzo.

Representative Raschein emphasized the need to end the patchwork quilt of protections where local protections may exist in one community but not the next. “It’s good for business. It’s good for recruiting the best and the brightest to Florida. We want to make sure Florida is as friendly as possible to all people, while bolstering a competitive advantage in today’s evolving marketplace,” said Rep. Raschein.

The link between strong anti-discrimination laws and the ability to draw quality employees is the reason that 84 percent of the nation’s largest companies have adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, twenty-five Fortune 1000 companies based in Florida prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, while 14 Fortune 1000 companies based in Florida also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. There are currently 32 Florida counties and municipalities who have passed anti-discrimination measures against the LGBT community, representing 55 percent of Florida residents.

The FBCW coalition of businesses is calling on Florida lawmakers to make the Sunshine State a leader by making it a place where gay and transgender people can live, work and visit without fear of discrimination. The time is now for the Sunshine State to show it does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in the workplace, and in housing and public accommodations.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition (FBCW) The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.  For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

FBCW Coalition Members / Florida Fortune 500 and Major Companies:

Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, CSX, Darden, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Marriott, Miami Heat, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Raymond James, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Tech Data, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, Walt Disney World Resort, Wells Fargo and Winn Dixie. For a list of the more than 400 local Florida businesses, go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com.

Florida Counties and Municipalities with Human Rights Ordinances in place:

Counties – Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Volusia. Municipalities – Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Miami Beach, Miami, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tequesta, Venice, Wilton Manors, and West Palm Beach. The population of these counties and municipalities with HRO protections already in place represent 10.5 million of Florida’s 19 million residents, or 55 percent.

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