TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Senate passed House Bill 7, which would censor constitutionally protected speech in classrooms and workplaces. The bill, which passed in the Florida House, would ban teaching topics related to systemic racism and race and gender discrimination in schools and workplaces. This censorship bill also allows employees to file discrimination claims against an employer engaging in training, workshops, or discussions related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and race and gender discrimination.
The bill can now be sent to Gov. DeSantis’ desk for him to sign into law.
Kirk Bailey, political director for the ACLU of Florida, responded to the vote with the following:
“The Florida Legislature has failed its constituents by passing this bill. This blatant attempt to restrict free speech, including the right to share ideas and receive information, in classrooms and workplaces is dangerous for our democracy.
“The last thing Floridians need is politicians between our kids and their teachers. We need to remember what school is about: it's a place for our kids to learn and feel supported. It is essential that every Floridian be taught an accurate view of our nation's history, including the good and the bad. Students, teachers, and employees deserve a free and open exchange about our history and its impact on our communities.
“Historical erasure and state censorship are a threat to our democracy. Imagine being a high school history teacher or college professor and not being allowed to use concepts like "systemic racism" to teach about slavery or the Holocaust. Imagine being an employer and not being allowed to have an informative training for employees on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. All Floridians have the right to receive information that is truthful and accurate. HB 7 will undermine that right.
“By passing HB 7, Florida politicians have made one thing clear: they are more interested in eliminating Floridians’ First Amendment rights than responding to the pressing needs of Floridians – like housing, healthcare, and jobs. All young people deserve an inclusive and complete education, free from censorship or discrimination. This hypocrisy is unsettling and will come at a significant cost.”