A sweeping preemption measure would repeal local protections
for 13 million Floridians, sparking economic backlash
Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that would repeal local nondiscrimination ordinances protecting 13 million Floridians, in a move advocates are calling the next generation of North Carolina’s HB 2. Today Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign convened advocates from across the state and LGBTQ lawmakers to highlight the severe economic risks of Florida’s HB 3/SB 1748, a sweeping preemption bill that would repeal local ordinances and threaten decades of progress towards LGBTQ rights in the state. Similar bills have cost states like Georgia, Texas, and, most notably, North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars in economic backlash and have inflicted lasting damage to the states’ tourism industries. (The full press conference can be viewed here.)
“HB 3 represents one of the most dangerous threats to equality we’ve faced in Florida and would strip basic nondiscrimination protections from nearly 13 million Floridians,” said Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director. “Florida cities and counties have led the way in protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination by passing local protections that now cover 60% of the state. HB 3 is sweeping legislation that threatens to repeal vital protections, endanger tourism, impact our economy and hurt our state’s reputation for decades. Florida lawmakers should reject HB 3 and instead pass the bipartisan Competitive Workforce Act, bipartisan legislation that currently has 61 cosponsors – more than any other bill filed in Florida this year.”
“Florida’s political leaders should learn the lessons from other states that took this reckless path that hurt their state’s economy and reputation,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Now is the time for Florida to lead the South in protecting Floridians and visitors from discrimination not introduce dangerous anti-LGBTQ legislation that would roll back needed protections here in The Sunshine State. HRC is proud to stand with Equality Florida and others to fight against any attempt to discriminate.”
HB 3 is sponsored by Rep. Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte) and has already sailed through its first committee stop with no real examination of its wide ranging impact. The Senate companion, SB 1748, was filed by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville).
HB 3 broadly repeals local ordinances not expressly authorized by state government and establishes onerous regulations governing what kinds of ordinances local government can pass moving forward. In addition to endangering local human rights ordinances, bans on so-called conversion therapy and equal benefits ordinances, HB 3 would repeal a host of local protections including environmental laws focused on clean water and air, local animal welfare ordinances, and employee protections.
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, Equality Florida is changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality.