The Florida Competitive Workforce Act Has A Record Number of Co-Sponsors

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 5, 2019
Contact: Christina Johnson, 850.391.5040, christina@on3pr.com

(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) – The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), SB 430/HB 485, reached a record-breaking 73 co-sponsors this week. The Florida Competes coalition thanks Republican Representatives Rep. Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) and Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Doral), for helping push the FCWA over the threshold. This is the highest number of co-sponsors the Florida Competitive Workforce Act has received before the Florida Legislature. With the unprecedented number of bipartisan lawmakers, it is time for the bill to be considered before the Legislature.

“As a Broward County Commissioner, I strongly supported our Human Rights Ordinance to protect everyone in our workplace, said Rep. LaMarca. “As a State Representative, I will continue to protect all Floridians from any type of discrimination.”

“The Competitive Workforce Act mirrors the best practices in hiring among Fortune 500 companies, 83 percent of which provide fully inclusive protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Rep. Rodriguez. “This legislation is pro-business and would do nothing more than enhance Florida’s corporate standing in our global economy.”

Currently, House Bill 485 has 56 sponsors and co-sponsors, and Senate Bill 430 has 17 sponsors and co-sponsors – 73 total sponsors and co-sponsors. Passage of the FCWA would not only allow for Florida to remain competitive in a global marketplace, it sends a strong message that Floridians value inclusion, equality and diversity. Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) and Rep. Jennifer Webb (D-St. Petersburg) are prime sponsors of the anti-discrimination measure, which simply expands the 1992 Florida Civil Rights Act to include nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and in public housing and accommodations.

“The Florida Competitive Workforce Act makes it clear that all Florida citizens merit equal rights in employment, public housing and accommodations in order to flourish in a global marketplace,” said Rep. Toledo. “When we look at best practices in business, we look to companies that are advanced, lucrative and have the best employees. That’s why so many major employers in Florida have established nondiscrimination policies at their companies and support the FCWA.”

“Carlton Fields is an ardent supporter of the Florida Competes coalition, which is comprised of both small and large Florida businesses and employers who recognize the importance of protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination,” said Marti Chumbler, attorney with Carlton Fields. “The call from business is clear – Florida’s LGBT community deserves an equal chance at employment, housing, and public accommodations. Florida’s economy, and the ability to attract qualified employees, is at a severe disadvantage without this legislation.”

While the state has failed to update Florida’s nondiscrimination laws to protect LGBT people from discrimination, updated Human Rights Ordinances (HROs) have been passed in 12 counties and 30 municipalities throughout the state, covering 60 percent of Florida’s population. But these protections create a patchwork where employees and their families are still subject to discrimination if they live in a neighboring city or county from their workplace without a local HRO.

Major employers, including 12 Fortune 500 companies AT&T, Citrix, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Raymond James, Tech Data, Uber, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined the coalition, along with more than 450 local businesses.

###

About Florida Competes

Florida Competes is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefited from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetes.org or visit the coalition on Twitter or Facebook