Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A proposed new state law threatens local nondiscrimination ordinances in Florida

Municipal nondiscrimination protections are threatened by Florida House Bill 3.
If enacted a new law would make Florida less welcoming to LGBTQ people.
Flickr
With the exception of the Department of Agriculture the state of Florida provides no protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people. About 40% of Floridians live in a municipality with local laws prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
All those local laws would be scrapped if a new measure passes.
The Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index averages 75 in Florida which is much higher than the national average of 51. In summary, Florida is like Mississippi or Alabama but many of our cities and counties are very progressive. Miami Beach, where I live, is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the United States.

In addition to nullifying anti-discrimination ordinances, the law would eliminate bans on conversion therapy. HB3 is a preemption measure. Existing local laws would expire on July 1, 2021 and no new laws can be enacted after July 1, 2019. New measures or renewals of existing measures require the municipality:
  • determined and publicly stated that the regulation is justified because:
    • it is necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare;
    • it is regulated in a manner that does not unnecessarily restrict entry into the business; and
    • the regulation is done in the least restrictive and most cost-effective manner.
  • required that the regulation sunset 2 years after the date of adoption;
  • passed the regulation by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the governing body, except when the regulation concerns zoning regulations, regulations that increase building costs by less than $750, nuisance ordinances, and ordinances related to alcohol or tobacco;
  • completed and published a statement of estimated regulatory costs 14 days prior to any vote on the regulation, and has determined that the regulatory costs on the business or business entity could not be reduced by the adoption of a less costly alternative.
House Bill 3 is the handiwork of Rep. Michael J. Grant a Republican who is the majority whip of the Florida House. Grant resides in Port Charlotte. Preemption is one of Alliance Defending Freedom's national goals. This bill does not incorporate the ADF boilerplate.

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