Florida introduces LGBTQ non-discrimination bill

On February 2, the Florida legislature introduced a comprehensive non-discrimination bill protecting LGBTQ people in from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Currently, the bill has nine cosponsors in the Florida Senate and 22 cosponsors in the Florida House, including Rep. David Richardson – the first openly gay man elected to the legislature – and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who was elected in 2016.
These legislators are making an impact. A similar bill during last year’s session was considered for the first time in Florida’s history. Hopefully the voices of LGBTQ legislators can build on that success and expand protections for LGBTQ Floridians. Even without a statewide law, about 60 percent of Floridians are covered by local non-discrimination laws thanks in part to the voices of LGBTQ city council members across the state. The work and advocacy of LGBTQ elected officials at the local and statewide level have changed the conversation and made concrete changes in policy.
These changes are important to the thousands of LGBTQ Floridians who are not covered by local ordinances. Discrimination can cost an LGBTQ person their job or home, and threaten their safety while using the restroom. This discrimination is expensive. The Williams Institute found discrimination against transgender residents cost Floridian taxpayers more than $500,000 in Medicaid expenses alone in 2015. Discrimination is too costly for LGBTQ residents and for Florida.
Victory Institute is hosting a four-day South Florida Candidate & Campaign Training in Fort Lauderdale from March 23 to March 26. Trainees will in an immersive series of simulations to learn skills and strategies on what leads a campaign to victory. Victory hopes to elevate the ability of future LGBTQ advocates so LGBTQ voices are heard when our rights are debated.