House Speaker Chris Sprowls is holding firm on controversial legislation his chamber has moved this Session.
The House on Wednesday passed a bill to prohibit transgender women and girls from competing on female sports teams by a near party-line vote (HB 1475). Lawmakers are also advancing a bill tightening Florida’s election laws (HB 7041) over the objections of Democrats.
Other states have passed similar laws and face consequences from companies and out-of-state groups threatening to stop doing business in those states. Most recently, the NCAA warned states that the association could move championships from states that pass bills restricting transgender females in sports.
“I certainly couldn’t care less. I really couldn’t,” Sprowls told reporters after the House passed the transgender sports bill. “I think that this is now a movement that you’re seeing in corporate America that, whether it’s the NCAA today or it might be someone tomorrow, that we’re going to use our corporate largess to bully the state.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday criticized “woke” corporate America for their response to Georgia’s election laws.
“Our process is governed by people that get elected and that are trying their best.” DeSantis told reporters. “It is not to be represented and governed by large corporations and so that is not going to be the policy in Florida.”
Sprowls said the Governor’s message was also his own.
“The state of Florida is not going to be bullied by any corporate actor,” Sprowls said. “They can send out as many press releases or tweets as they like. It will not impact what we do in the way of policy in the state of Florida.”
During debate on the House floor, Republicans questioned the NCAA’s moral authority on issues facing the nation. Members criticized the association for its policy of preventing collegiate athletes from making money off their brand.
Sprowls also questioned business executives’ authority.
“None of those CEOs, those businesses, or the folks who run their Twitter stood for election, but the 120 members of that chamber did,” he said. “They represent 22 million Floridians. It’s their opinions that I’m worried about.”
A Senate panel postponed legislation similar to the transgender sports bill (SB 2010). The same panel was also unable to vote on a bill on the state’s election laws (SB 90), but is primed to take a vote on that measure soon.