Lawmakers working to protect LGBT Floridians from discrimination and boost our state’s economic reputation are back at the state capitol, ready to renew their push to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.
Sen. Darryl Rouson debuted his chamber’s version of the Act earlier today, calling on his colleagues to make 2019 the year this critical legislation goes to the Governor’s desk.
“This is the civil rights issue of our time,” said Sen. Rouson. “Senate Bill 430 will make it clear to those looking to relocate to Florida that they will be given the same basic rights as everyone else. Workplace discrimination has no place in our state and the time has come for Florida legislators to embrace the Competitive Workforce Act.”
Representatives Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) and Jennifer Webb (D-St. Petersburg) will spearhead the push for the bill’s House companion, HB 485.
“This is the civil rights issue of our time. Senate Bill 430 will make it clear to those looking to relocate to Florida that they will be given the same basic rights as everyone else. Workplace discrimination has no place in our state and the time has come for Florida legislators to embrace the Competitive Workforce Act.” —Sen. Darryl Rouson
As in previous years, if enacted the FCWA would protect LGBT people who live or work in the Sunshine State from being discriminated against on the job, when looking for a place to live or when seeking service in public places like restaurants and retail shops.
Proponents of the FCWA are enthusiastic about several trends that will give the bill a fresh burst of legislative momentum this year.
First, several election cycles—including this most recent cycle—have showed that supporting LGBT protections have not hindered Republicans at the ballot box. Sponsors and co-sponsors were overwhelmingly re-elected, and the issue has not been one of contention on the campaign trail.
Second, key past supporters are lining up for political leadership positions, giving the FCWA a base of support that it hasn’t had in the past.
Finally, business support for the FCWA continues to grow. The Florida Competes coalition boasts 10 Fortune 500 companies, more than 450 small businesses, and 30 major employers. And polling from the Small Business Majority shows that 73% of small business owners in Florida want a federal law protecting LGBT people from discrimination in public accommodations. Nearly 7 in 10 responded that they would support a similar state law.
Florida Competes would like to thank Sen. Rouson and Representatives Toledo and Webb for their leadership on this issue. And if you’re a Florida business owner who believes that our state is more competitive when all who live and work here are protected from discrimination, click here to view current members and sign our business pledge.