On Monday, the Florida State Senate will debate and vote on HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Harmful bill would ban schools from discussing ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’ with students between kindergarten and third grade and allow aggrieved fanatics to sue a school system if they believe it prohibition in white has been violated.
Children with same-sex parents wouldn’t be able to talk about their family, LGBTQ teachers wouldn’t be allowed to talk about their partners, and stories with gay protagonists would likely be banned.
If only it was portrayed that way.
The bill, which passed the State House on Friday, was instead touted by Republicans as a moratorium on sex education for K-3 students, a transparent lie they’ve repeated over and over again. and many times. But that facade has fallen in recent days as GOP leaders have been unable to contain their true intentions, including Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“How many parents want their kids to be transgender or have something injected into the classroom teaching?” DeSantis told reporters on Friday. this.”
On Sunday, DeSantis’ own publicist lifted the lid entirely with a series of vile tweets that equated LGBTQ people with pedophiles.
It’s nothing but outright homophobia, as lawmakers and critics alike were quick to point out on Sunday. (Plus, the grooming accusations coming from Matt Gaetz’s party are really rich.)
“Pedophilia accusations are the most dangerous anti-gay tropes there are. DeSantis’ own spokesperson shamelessly using [Don’t Say Gay] smearing LGBTQ Floridians is disgusting and reckless,” State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith told me. “If DeSantis doesn’t fire her, he’s embraced these attacks.”
As I reported last week, Republicans have over the past half-decade shifted the crosshairs of their homophobia to focus on transgender people. The toilet bills failed, but through a mixture of misinformation and the fight for “parental rights”, they were increasingly able to inject fringe theocratic beliefs about the nature of gender and the evolution itself in public education. In short, they whitewash right-wing bigotry in a policy governing tens of millions of people.
“There have long been anti-LGBTQ bills in one form or another in state legislatures,” says Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Now it’s an exponential increase in bills that go after transgender youth outright. It’s definitely not growing organically because there really is a problem with young trans people in schools. It’s a conscious game of ideologically anti-LGBTQ organizations.
The bill passed the House on Friday after Republicans rejected amendment after amendment to mitigate the damage it would cause to children and families. They too rejected an amendment it would turn the bill into what they’re really selling to the public, a ban on sex education before fourth grade. Students have risen up against the bill (and DeSantis’ bullying more generally), tomorrow the Capitol will host an intense, crucial, and likely harrowing battle.
Along with targeting LGBTQ Floridians and their families, Republicans are also trying to sneak through an unprecedented assault on organized labor and working families.
Every year, a tool chamber of commerce introduces a bill to disable and gut public sector unions, only to see it ignored or rejected. This year, however, Republicans, laden with more corporate donations than ever, have built up the hubris to push the bill forward, with a realistic chance it will pass this week before the end of the legislative session. .
HB 1197 would devastate public unions, which provide the only real effective outside advocacy for workers and working families in Florida, a right-to-work state like Florida that has long been extremely hostile to organized labor.
Among other things, the bill would require unions to re-certify members every year, include anti-union language in annual membership forms that encourages members to quit, and abolish bargaining committees if 50% of workers decide not to pay. rights.
The bill provides exceptions for police, fire and corrections officers, all of which are Republican pet ridings. This is an absurdly limited exception; the AFSCME, one of the main public sector unions, represents all kinds of workers who work alongside police, fire and correctional officers who would not have their rights to collective bargaining and representation suspended above of an open flame each year.
The AFSCME alone represents 911 dispatchers, community service agents, nurses, medical examiners, firefighter technicians, juvenile detention officers and public hospital workers, all of whom are at risk of being enslaved by the state.
The bill would also impact essential workers whom lawmakers were quick to hire (but not reward) during the worst of the pandemic. Nurses, bus drivers, janitorial staff, food workers and other hardworking and selfless professionals would be exposed to the loss of their only advocates, all to enrich corporate vendors and break the will of people who push back against unprecedented corporate gifts from the state.
The bill will be debated in the state Senate this week, likely Wednesday. Expect the unions to go to great lengths to raise awareness and kill what is an existential threat to them.
PS This is adapted from an article in my newsletter, Progressives Everywhere. The newsletter focuses in-depth on progressive politics and politics, including great state government coverage you won’t get elsewhere, and holds bad Republicans accountable.
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