Workforce nondiscrimination bill filed with bipartisan support

By : Staff Report
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The Florida Competitive Workforce Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) and Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), has been filed in the Florida House of Representatives.

HB 239 “prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity or expression; defines terms; provides exceptions for constitutionally protected free exercise of religion,” according to the bill’s language.

“A version of the bill has been introduced in some form since 2007,” said Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director for Equality Florida.

In previous years, it has died in committee, but Saunders said he thinks this year, the bill has a chance.

“I believe the bill would pass on the floor if it were to get there today,” Saunders told The Orlando Sentinel. “The challenge we have is to have that conversation.”

Raschein called the bill “pro-business,” saying in a press conference Nov. 5 that non-discrimination measures are necessary to attract the best possible workers and companies to Florida.

This is not the first time the bill has received bipartisan support.

“Last year six Republicans signed on,” said Wells.

Rep. Karen Castor Dentel (D-Maitland) is also a co-sponsor of the bill.

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