Florida Competitive Workforce Act now has 36 co-sponsors - Florida Politics

Florida Competitive Workforce Act now has 36 co-sponsors

Although it may be difficult to believe now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, the fact is that it’s still legal in most states to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations.

It’s legal to discriminate against the LGBT community in Florida, which is why for the past several years there has been an attempt to include sexual orientation and gender identity to the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992. The effort failed each time.

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But now a coalition advocating for the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA) says that they have 36 co-sponsors of the legislation going into the 2017 regular Florida Legislative Session beginning next week. That’s the highest number of legislators co-sponsoring the bill precedent the start of Session in the history of the proposed legislation.

The FCWA is being sponsored in the Senate by Lake Worth Democrat Jeff Clemens (Senate Bill 666) and in the House (Bill 623) by St. Petersburg Democrat Ben Diamond and Titusville Republican Rene Plasencia.

The announcement was made Friday by Florida Competes, a coalition of 10 Fortune 500 companies, 30 large corporations, and more than 450 small businesses.

“As we continue to grow and diversify our Florida economy, we need to use every tool in our toolbox to ensure that we attract and retain the best and brightest workforce,” said Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young. “These common sense anti-discrimination measures position Florida to effectively compete on the national and global stage.”  

“Discrimination of any kind must not be tolerated, which is why I am proud to co-sponsor the Florida Competitive Workforce Act,” said Sen. Bobby Powell, a West Palm Beach Democrat. “Our state must be a welcoming place for all who choose to work, live and visit. This is common sense legislation that not only small business owners and major Fortune 500 companies support, but all Floridians who believe that no one should be fired from a job or denied housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“The strong bipartisan support of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act shows that the issue is simply good public policy,” said Sarasota Republican Rep. Joe Gruters. “It sends a strong message to businesses who are looking to expand in, or relocate to Florida, that their employees will be afforded the same basic rights.”

The following members of the Florida Legislature have joined the FCWA legislation:

Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation)

Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee)

Sen. Gary Farmer (D-Ft. Lauderdale)

Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami)

Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah)

Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast)

Sen. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach)

Sen. Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton)

Sen. José Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami)

Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg)

Sen. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando)

Sen. Victor Torres (D-Orlando)

Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa)

Rep. Bruce Antone (D-Orlando)

Rep. Daisy J. Baez (D-Coral Gables)

Rep. Lori Berman (D-Lantana)

Rep. John Cortes (D-Kissimmee)

Rep. Nicholas Duran (D-Miami)

Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Ft. Myers)

Rep. Joseph Geller (D-Dania Beach)

Rep. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota)

Rep. Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton)

Rep. Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek)

Rep. Evan Jenne (D- Hollywood)

Rep. Chris Latvala (R- Clearwater)

Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando)

Rep. Alex Miller (R-Sarasota)

Rep. Mike Miller (R-Orlando)

Rep. Kathleen M. Peters (R-St. Petersburg)

Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo)

Rep. Sean Shaw (D-Tampa)

Rep. Emily Slosberg (D-Delray Beach)

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando)

Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston)

Rep. Clovis Watson, Jr. (D- Gainesville)

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa for 15 years. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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