–The Florida Competitive Workforce Act Protects Against Discrimination in the Workplace, Public Housing and Accommodations–
Tallahassee, FL – A coalition of top employers and small business owners today welcomed the support of State Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) to the growing roster of Republicans supporting statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Floridians.
Flores pledged to cosponsor the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA) measure, which received its first committee hearing in the Senate last session. Florida Competes, formerly know as Florida Businesses for A Competitive Workforce, formed to support bipartisan legislation filed last year by State Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and State Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach).
The bill stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 5-5 tie but drew strong support from leading Republicans including Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami). Republican Senators Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) and Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) both signing on as co-sponsors and House Majority Leader Dana Young (R-Tampa), told reporters, “This is an issue that transcends party.”
Sen. Flores issued this statement of support for the language introduced last year.
“Today I would like to reaffirm my full support for the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, a bill that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Floridians in employment, housing, and public accommodations. This bill, filed last year by Rep. Raschein and Sen. Abruzzo, simply updates Florida’s existing nondiscrimination law by adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Both counties my district runs through, Miami-Dade and Monroe, have now had these protections for years with positive results. More than half of Floridians live in communities that have these protections and they are better because of them. It is time for the state of Florida to ensure these protections exist statewide.”
Bipartisan support for the FCWA continues to grow as next session draws closer. In August, Orange County Republican Mayor Teresa Jacobs presented a resolution, signed by more than 20 local GOP elected officials, voicing their support of the legislation. Jacobs was spurred to action in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orange County.
Lawmakers have also paid close attention to the fallout in North Carolina, a state that has suffered significant economic setbacks from the passage of anti-LGBT laws that Florida and other states rejected last session. In a move that mirrors the NCAA’s decision to pull championship events from North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) says it is relocating all upcoming major championships, citing the state’s HB2 law that limits civil rights protections for LGBT people. The boycott is projected to cost the state of North Carolina more than $395 million in revenue.
Top employers in the state have united to form the Florida Competes, 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.
Contact: Christina Johnson, 850.391.5040, [email protected]
About Florida Competes
Florida Competes, formerly known as 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 benefited from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.flcompetes.org or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.