It’s time for the Competitive Workforce Act to be heard

Despite all there is to gain, there's no motion on the FCWA.

It’s a lesson every person should be taught as many times as it takes them to learn it: it’s never OK to discriminate against another person, especially over things that were determined the day they were born.

The Florida Legislature needs a refresher course from time to time, but this year lawmakers are showing a bit of progress.

A bill filed by Sen. Randolph Bracy (SB 566) would prohibit housing discrimination against people who sport hairstyles and textures traditionally associated with race — think braids, locks and twists.

Likewise, Sen. Oscar Braynon is sponsoring legislation (SB 644) to block housing discrimination based on height or weight, affording it the same treatment as discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicaps and marital status.

These bills aren’t long shots. Bracy’s bill already cleared the Senate Community Affairs Committee. More importantly, it got a hearing.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about another major anti-discrimination bill that’s been proposed for several Legislative Sessions in a row: The Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which would protect LGBTQ Floridians from being fired or denied housing based their sexual orientation.

The merits of the FCWA have been outlined too many times to count, but here they are again: A supermajority of Floridians want these protections; some of the state’s biggest employers do, too; economic engines such as universities say it’ll help them add ever more brilliant minds to their faculty rosters; and major out-of-state corporations such as Amazon have intimated that a lack of these protections has kept them from setting up shop in the Sunshine State.

Despite all there is to gain, the bill goes unheard.

The House effort (HB 141) is awaiting a hearing in the Civil Justice Committee, but it has not been placed on the agenda. The Senate companion (SB 206) is in a similar position as it waits for a hearing in the Governmental Oversight and Accountability.

The snub continues despite more Republican lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature signing on as co-sponsors every year the FCWA is put forward.

The 2020 effort has nine Republican co-sponsors in the House and one of them, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, chairs one of the bill’s three committees of reference — the bill could sprout legs if it gets help making the difficult first step.

All this to say, Florida lawmakers should hear Bracy’s bill, and they should hear Braynon’s bill, too.

But if they are willing to consider adding protections for hairstyles, height or weight, they should be willing to consider adding protections for their family members, neighbors, constituents and even fellow lawmakers who have spent years fighting for them.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • gary

    January 17, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    This is what the left does… legislate discrimination to create voters. The only people that democrats will never create a law to protect???????? straight white people with blond hair and blue eyes.. !

    • Jon

      January 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      SO TRUE

    • Brie

      January 18, 2020 at 3:16 am

      Um….all of the people you just mentioned are protected Bc of previously enacted law.

      It’s not “the left” doing anything, it’s people realizing that there is legal discrimination against lgbt Floridians taking place in Florida and trying to stop it.

      Check your privilege

      • gary

        January 20, 2020 at 2:09 pm

        Check yours first snowflake!

        • Name

          January 21, 2020 at 8:18 pm

          Who is the real snowflake? The ones whining about not being able to be bigots anymore, I’d say…..

  • Steve Vernon

    January 18, 2020 at 6:32 am

    Competitive Workforce Bill is anti-religious freedom. Organizations and individuals who believe certain conduct of LGBTQ people are a transgression against their religion, will be forced to accept it.

    • Brie

      January 18, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      No, they won’t. You still have your license to discriminate. Stop crying.

      RFRA still protects your right to do exactly what Jesus said not to do—reject and mistreat people—under the guise of “not believing” in their “lifestyle.”

      And, honestly, it’s a matter of time until someone decides their religion is simply “pro lgbt” issues and starts discriminating against you.

      • Steve Vernon

        January 18, 2020 at 10:10 pm

        You forget what Jesus said about homosexuals and prostitutes. Hate the sin but still love the sinners.
        Taking away our religious rights does not make sin alright.

        • Name

          January 19, 2020 at 12:23 am

          Jesus never said that.

          You’re lying and I doubt he would like that.

          All sin is equal in the eyes of g-d, and projecting judgement was something Jesus was clear not to do.

          Nice try though.

          • gary

            January 20, 2020 at 2:15 pm


            Jude 1:22–23 says, “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” These verses tell us to extend mercy and compassion for people, and hate for the sin.

  • Name

    January 21, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    Says nothing of homosexuality in there.

    Adultery, though…..he was clear on that.

    Not treating the poor well…

    Not showing compassion….

    By all means though, cherry pick one thing and use it to justify being a bigot. Have fun explaining that to him someday….

Comments are closed.


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