Florida lawmakers seek a statewide ban on conversion therapy in 2020

By : Jeremy Williams
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(Photo from Equality Florida’s Facebook)

TALLAHASSEE, Florida | Equality Florida was joined by state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (D- Miami) and state Rep. Michael Grieco (D-Miami Beach) in hosting a press conference at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee Nov. 5 to discuss legislation that would enact a statewide ban on the widely discredited practice of so-called conversion therapy on minors.

House Bill (HB) 41 — filed in the Florida House on Aug. 9 by Grieco — and Senate Bill (SB) 180 — filed in the Florida Senate on Aug. 23 by Rodríguez — both seek to prohibit licensed practitioners from performing conversion therapy on minors and leaving any practitioners who do so subject to disciplinary proceedings by the state’s Department of Health and appropriate boards.

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2016 was the worst year ever, and 2017 was the year we found our footing

By : Jeremy Williams
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In these very pages one year ago we proclaimed 2016 to be the worst year ever. It started off with so much promise and optimism, with the official passing of the torch as the former owner of Watermark turned the reins over to new owner Rick Claggett and Watermark Media became Watermark Publishing Group.

President Barack Obama was heading into the final year of his second term and everything seemed in place for another torch to be passed, that of the first black president passing the country off to the first female president.

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Standing our ground: State legislators take action to prevent gun violence

By : Billy Manes
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ORLANDO – In a time in which gun violence has reached critical mass – including but not limited to the Pulse massacre on the night of June 12 – two recently elected legislators are looking to do something about the scourge of assault weapons. On Jan. 5, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and State Sen. Linda Stewart took to the steps of the Orange County Courthouse to introduce their companion bills, HB 167 and SB 254, each designed to limit the availability of assault weapons in Florida.

“I am proud to stand with everyone that I see here today to act. I look forward to seeing you in Tallahassee. If you think it’s going to be easy, it’s not. But we will need all of you there behind us, helping us.” Florida Senator-elect Linda Stewart said.

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Local leaders weigh in on the way we were and the way we will be

By : Billy Manes
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Dumbfounded. Knocked out. Afraid. Broken. These are just a few of the things that many of us are feeling in the wake of Donald Trump’s historic rise to presidential power on Nov. 8.

If you’re anything like us, you have a lot of questions. You may have even been harassed already. We reached out to some of our best and brightest for answers, options, hope. And they provided just that. We’re not done yet. And so we rise. Here are some words from our friends. Stay strong.

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Community leaders on moving forward after tragedy

By : Compiled by Billy Manes
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We reached out to several community leaders for their commentary on moving forward.

Here are some excerpts from their responses.

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Statewide domestic partner registry bill in the works

By : Susan Clary
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Orlando – State Rep. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) is working on resurrecting a bill in 2014 that would implement a statewide domestic partner registry. It was submitted to bill drafting in mid-December, and she hopes to secure a Republican co-sponsor.

Last year’s bill, sponsored by Mark S. Pafford (D-West Palm Beach), died when not one Republican committee chair would consider it. A companion senate bill passed one senate hearing, Children, Families and Elder Affairs, a committee chaired by Democrat Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). 

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