Republicans Toledo and Raschein partner with Democrat
Webb on comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights legislation
A bipartisan trio of powerful female lawmakers today announced their intention to make 2020 the year that comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights protections pass the Florida Legislature. Republican Representative Jackie Toledo (R – Tampa) will lead as primary sponsor of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, in a moment when legislation adding LGBTQ protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations has earned unprecedented support.
Representative Toledo is best known for her deft passage of the popular “texting while driving” ban in 2019. Representative Jennifer Webb (D – St. Petersburg), Florida’s first out lesbian lawmaker, will serve as lead co-sponsor with support from powerful Republican Holly Raschein (R – Key West), Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resource Appropriations Subcommittee. In 2013, Chair Raschein became the first Republican legislator to co-sponsor the Florida Competitive Workforce Act and later served as the bill’s lead sponsor before assuming her role as a member of House Majority leadership team. Senator Darryl Rouson (D – St. Petersburg) will again lead efforts in the Florida Senate.
“This year we have some of the most powerful and effective representatives in the Florida House leading the charge,” said Equality Florida Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer. “When our community is focused and united, we win. This is the year we can win comprehensive protections for our community in housing, employment, and public accommodations.”
“In 2013, I was the first Republican to pledge my full support for LGBTQ civil rights in Florida,” said Chair Holly Raschein. “Last session fifteen of our Republican colleagues cosponsored the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. I am hopeful 2020 is the year to get this done.”
“LGBTQ Floridians need protection in housing, employment and public accommodations,” said State Representative Jackie Toledo. “I’m honored to introduce this important legislation with a team of the most effective lawmakers in the process. Together we’re going to make Florida more competitive for top talent and business. And we’re going to ensure that no family is denied an opportunity because of who they are or who they love.”
“Women know how to get it done,” said State Representative Jennifer Webb. “There’s no one better to work with than Representative Toledo and Representative Raschein. We’re walking into session with 2020 vision. 2020 is the year we get this popular and common sense legislation across the finish line and move our state and our LGBTQ community forward.”
“This is the civil rights issue of our time,” said State Senator Darryl Rouson. “I’m excited to work with this team of dynamic State House leaders to ensure Florida recognizes the full equality of its citizens.”
The Florida Competitive Workforce Act has consistently garnered tremendous bipartisan support. With 74 Democratic and Republican sponsors and cosponsors, it was one of the most popular bills of the 2019 legislative session. Currently, comprehensive local non-discrimination protections that include gender identity and sexual orientation cover 60% of Florida’s population. Leading Florida businesses like Disney, Darden, Tech Data, and Marriott support the Florida Competitive Workforce Act because they know these protections are essential for attracting and retaining top talent.
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, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.