Randy Fine bill would outlaw critical race theory
Randy Fine. Image via AP.

Randy fine
Critical race theory was a hot topic over the summer, and Fine is reigniting the issue.

After the Board of Education took steps this summer to ban critical race theory in schools, at least one lawmaker wants to put a stop, at all levels of government, to what some consider an academic movement.

Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican, has filed a measure (HB 57) that includes a ban on using critical race theory in training, policy or more in public schools, colleges and universities. The ban also extends to state agencies, county and municipal governments and private contractors working with the government.

Critical race theory is based on the premise that racism is embedded within American society and institutions. The controversial theory became a national flashpoint for Republicans over the summer, a year after the country faced a social reckoning over nationwide “Black Lives Matter” protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Fine filed the proposal late last month, in the gear-up to the 2022 Legislative Session. And while the topic has fallen to the wayside since the early summer, with the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic and the withdrawal from Afghanistan dominating recent news cycles, the Brevard County lawmaker took a stab at reigniting the issue as legislative meetings approach.

“Critical race theory is racist at its core, and has no place in the state of Florida,” Fine said Wednesday. “The notion that people are good or bad based on the color of their skin runs counter to everything our country was founded on. It is insidious, it is evil, and it is propagated to make our children hate their country. And as we have seen in Brevard County, radical politicians and bureaucrats are indoctrinating this hate into our principals, teachers, and ultimately, students.”

In June, the State Board of Education approved changes to civics education standards at Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ request. The board voted after members of the public squared off on the rule, with some saying it would whitewash history and others saying it would prevent Marxist theory from being taught in Florida classrooms.

Critical race theory wasn’t directly taught in public schools before the ban. But Fine sought to “disabuse that notion” that it doesn’t exist in lessons and training.

“In the midst of the greatest crisis to public education in history — responding to COVID — Brevard School Board politicians thought it was more important to spend tens of thousands of dollars hiring a CRT trainer who stated, ‘White America has a deep and thick appetite for Black death and violence upon Black people,’” Fine relayed. “The philosophy these politicians are pushing is repugnant and repulsive, and this legislation will eradicate it root and branch.”

Brevard Public School Board officials said the screenshots Fine highlighted as evidence over the summer were taken out of context and did not reflect any kind of plan to teach students critical race theory, according to Florida Today.

Democrats, including Agriculture Commissioner and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, criticized DeSantis for seeking a “race war and culture war” with the summer’s critical race theory ban.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in July filed legislation, titled the Protecting Students From Racial Hostility Act, that would ban critical race theory in schools across the country. However, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate has not touched the bill.

Fine’s bill goes further than prohibiting critical race theory. It would ban a 10-point list of “divisive concepts,” including topics around sexism and “race or sex scapegoating.” The proposal also bans teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist and that individuals are inherently racist, sexist and oppressive based on their own race or sex.

Agency inspectors general would need to review compliance with the law at least once a year.

The proposal also clarifies that it does not ban racial, cultural, ethnic or intellectual diversity and inclusiveness efforts, as long as they don’t conflict with the divisive concepts.

Fine said the measure, which would take effect in July, builds off DeSantis’ leadership, codifies it into state law and expands it.

“I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues to fight this hateful ideology and continue to advance Florida as a beacon of freedom and American exceptionalism,” Fine added.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jason Fischer has joined Fine in sponsoring the bill. However, no Senate counterpart has filed a companion measure.

Committee meetings for the 2022 Session begin Monday. The 60-day Legislative Session opens Jan. 11.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


15 comments

  • Alex

    September 15, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    Racists don’t want racism taught.

    Reply

  • PeterH

    September 15, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Next up on the GQP agenda…….BOOK BURNING and telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. There is end in sight for Republican Bobby Jindal’s “Party of Stupid” ….. they will forever be creating problems and trying to fix problems…. where no problems exist!

    Reply

    • Jerry

      September 15, 2021 at 3:33 pm

      Interesting stance.
      So women can control their bodies and get to have medical privacy for their reproductive health decisions, but everyone still has to submit to vaccines regardless of their own decisions for their own body? So “my body my choice” only applies to women and abortions. But every other personal medical decision can be overridden by the government? Is that your stance.

      And you want to claim the GOP is book burning? Is it the GOP that is right now censoring the internet? Is it the GOP who are banning books in schools because they aren’t politically correct? A liberal school board in California banned “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Huck Finn” because they say those books are racist. We now have woke production companies like Disney that feel a need to put a warning message before a movie that it’s racist. We now have to stand for two national anthems at sports games. This stuff is insane! And it is YOU liberals that have introduced cancel culture to our society.

      Reply

      • Alex

        September 15, 2021 at 3:58 pm

        Lol

        No one is being forced to get a vaccine.

        You just can’t do things and go places where you’d endanger others if you don’t.

        All the rest…… blah blah bah.

        Reply

        • Jerry

          September 15, 2021 at 5:49 pm

          So you have a choice to get the vaccine, but if you don’t choose to get it, then no job, no school, no social events, no stores, no food, etc. And we will have a two-tiered society.

          Only tyrants would call this a “choice.” And that is exactly what the modern Democratic Party is, it’s a party of tyrants who are obsessed with social control and power.

          Biden can do whatever he wants. But we ain’t doing this vaccine passport crap in Florida. The federal government has no constitutional authority. Vaccines have always been a state government issue. And we will take it to the Supreme Court to shut this authoritarian president down.

          Reply

          • Alex

            September 15, 2021 at 5:55 pm

            Poor baby.

            It’s so tough to go down to the corner drugstore and get two little shots spaced two weeks apart, for free.

            Don’t like it?

            What you gonna do?

            Attack the capital?

            Yawn.

          • PeterH

            September 15, 2021 at 7:05 pm

            If you don’t get vaccinated you also won’t be joining others on jet travel. That’s next!

          • Pamela Castellana

            September 22, 2021 at 7:40 am

            Nope. Your employment is not in jeopardy in any way. You can either get vaccinated or tested weekly. Stop trying to make this something it’s nor.

      • Pamela

        September 16, 2021 at 8:17 am

        Actually no. Everyone does not have to get a vaccine (although trie patriots and responsible citizens will)

        You can choose to be tested weekly instead.

        Reply

    • Dan

      September 15, 2021 at 7:11 pm

      Only people burning books and trying to suppress debate and ideas are Democrats. You want anything censored that goes against your national narratives.
      I’ve actually over the years bought up a bunch of controversial books and movies for fear the so-called “progressives” will one day try to ban them. It’s incredibly disturbing that I have to worry about that in what’s supposed to be a free country. It’s not anymore. The liberals have formed an unholy alliance between government and corporations. If the government wants someone banned off facebook, they call Zuckerberg in and threaten him. Then he complies and gets favors. It’s a very, very bad situation.

      Look at like right now, the rapper Nicki Minaj has been posting a lot of anti-vax stuff on her social media. She has 180 million people following her. So the left is now trying to get her to change her tune. Biden even invites her to the White House. If she doesn’t comply, they will pressure twitter to ban her. Just watch and see….
      This is becoming a very disturbing time for our country. Liberals have absolutely no respect for the freedom of speech anymore. None.

      Reply

      • PeterH

        September 15, 2021 at 7:20 pm

        Crazy talk!

        Reply

        • Dan

          September 15, 2021 at 7:58 pm

          No it’s not. Have you not been paying attention the past year? If you say anything against the government narratives, the social media companies will ban you. And they only started doing that when Democrats in Congress began threatening them to censor “hate speech” and “misinformation,” which of course is just basically any speech that goes against the government. Criticize the CDC or criticize Fauci and you’ll be guilty of “misinformation.” And we saw this type of reaction some years ago when meterologists and scientists who questioned the global warming data. They were threatened with their jobs. This is the left’s new tool to get compliance. They threaten you. They now do the same with the vaccines. If you are a doctor who questions the data, they want to take their license away!

          But it’s not working. It’s backfiring badly. When you ban people off mainstream web sites, what do they do? They seek out sites and platforms that are not as moderated. Those places tend to be more radical and fringe. Meanwhile, the mainstream sites become liberal echo chambers which is basically what the mainstream media is today. They are all liberal. Even this website right here! It’s a non-stop DeSantis bash fest. There is no more free exchange of ideas. Everyone just preaches to the choir and becomes more entrenched in their beliefs.

          Right now you have liberals who want a powerful and authoritarian federal government, endless mass spending bills, and mass social reforms. This is something I personally can never, ever vote for. After what I have witnessed over the past year and half by Democrats, I can never cast a vote for that party for the rest of my life.

          Here’s a challenge for you….Name one thing…just one thing…the Democratic party has done since Obama’s election in 2008 that advanced and protected civil liberties of Americans. Just name me one one bill they proposed that protects our constitutional freedoms. Everything the Democrats have done the past 2 decades is aimed at reducing our freedoms and adding more government in our lives. I will never, ever vote for that!

          Reply

          • PeterH

            September 15, 2021 at 8:36 pm

            The social media companies are private ‘clubs’ with rules! If you don’t like the rules start your own Facebook clone. No one cares!

          • Pamela Castellana

            September 22, 2021 at 7:43 am

            Exactly what freedoms do you see being stripped? Because I see laws making it harder dor black and brown people to friggin’ VOTE. And thanks to a recent article by Politico everyone now knows why.

            When more Americans vote, republicans lose. And winning is obviously more important than actually governing to those people.

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