Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, the Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 148, a legislative proposal that would censor protected speech in workplaces and classrooms by banning teaching concepts about systemic racism, gender, and race discrimination. SB 148 will also give employees the ability to file discrimination claims against an employer engaging in such trainings or discussions.
The ACLU of Florida responded to today’s committee hearing with the following statement:
“Gov. DeSantis and his allies in the legislature are trying to prevent students and employees from having an open dialogue about our country’s history — one that acknowledges the role of racism in the U.S. and includes the experiences and viewpoints of people of color and other marginalized communities. Historical erasure and state censorship are a threat to everyone. This proposal is part of a new nationwide attempt to erase the history and lived experiences of marginalized communities. This is also a blatant attempt to suppress speech DeSantis and certain legislators do not like.
“The First Amendment protects the right to share ideas, including the right of listeners to receive information and knowledge. Banning talking about gender and race discrimination oversteps the state’s authority to determine school curricula and constitutes government overreach and censorship. Students and employees deserve to have a free and open exchange about our history and its impact on our communities. Legislators should not interfere with a student or employee’s right to receive an inclusive education just because certain aspects of our history make some people uncomfortable. We must protect this right for all Floridians.”