Anti-LGBTQ bill attacking local employment protections advances in Florida House

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: State Rep. Bob Rommel’s HB 305 looks to strip local LGBTQ employment protections. (Photo from Rommel’s Facebook)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | A bill looking to remove local LGBTQ protections in employment across the state cleared a hurdle Jan. 28 as the Florida House Subcommittee on Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs voted down party lines to move State Rep. Bob Rommel’s HB 305 to its final committee.

By a vote of 10-5, the committee advanced the “Preemptions of Conditions of Employment” bill, which would repeal protections that currently protect nearly 60% of the state’s population from employers discriminating against a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In Tallahassee for its annual Lobby Days, statewide civil rights organization Equality Florida has been strongly advocating against the multiple anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in the 2020 session, including HB 305.

“Blocking local governments from providing employment protections for LGBTQ Floridians is dangerous, destructive and wrong — especially if the Florida Legislature refuses to replace them with statewide protections,” said Equality Florida’s Senior Political Director Joe Saunders in a statement. “Year after year, the legislature tries to roll back local protections for the LGBTQ community despite warnings of the devastating impact legislation like HB 305 can have on our state. When states repeal local protections, whether intentionally or by design, it sparks an economic backlash.”

Local cities, counties and municipalities have been passing local ordinances to protect LGBTQ individuals as the state legislature has yet to pass Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA). The FCWA has been filed every legislative session for more than a decade.

“Lawmakers should oppose HB 305 and instead pass the broadly supported, bipartisan-led Florida Competitive Workforce Act to establish statewide nondiscrimination protections. This is one of the most co-sponsored bills year after year. It is time for leadership to bring this legislation to the floor and for the Governor to sign it into law. Everyone should be able to earn a living, including the LGBTQ community,” Saunders said.

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