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January 1, Florida Lawmakers Pass Controversial Bill Amid Protests



The Florida Senate passed HB 117, the controversial legislature critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, despite protests and staunch criticism from Democratic lawmakers and LGBTQ advocates.

The “Parental Rights in Education” bill passed 22-17 and now makes its way to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of the legislation, saying it will shield younger students from age-inappropriate information.

“We are going to make sure parents are able to send their kids to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum,” DeSantis said ahead of the vote.

Once DeSantis adds his signature, the bill will go into effect for the 2022-2023 school year.

“We want the focus to be on those basic, fundamental things,” said Republican State Representative Joe Harding, who sponsored the bill. “The reading, the writing, the math. And when discussions come up as a dad of four kids, children ask questions. Discussions are going to come up. We can’t ban a conversation. We can’t ban a discussion. That’s not what we’re doing.”

The bill has faced heavy criticism, including from President Joe Biden. He called the bill “hateful” to the LGBTQ community.

“Leaders in Florida are prioritizing hateful bills that hurt some of the students most in need,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. 

“The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported.”

Here is the final version of the measure:

"Requires district school boards to adopt procedures that comport with certain provisions of law for notifying student's parent of specified information; requires such procedures to reinforce fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children; prohibits school district from adopting procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying parent about specified information or that encourage student to withhold from parent such information; prohibits school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification & involvement in critical decisions affecting student's mental, emotional, or physical well-being; prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services; authorizes parent to bring action against school district to obtain declaratory judgment; provides for additional award of injunctive relief, damages, & reasonable attorney fees & court costs to certain parents."


Florida Senate passes controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill despite protests

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