Rep. Randy Fine introduced HB 17 simply as a measure to keep commerce moving on an upward trajectory under the leadership of local governments, flourishing enough to bring prosperity to their respective communities.
“Its intent is to help businesses thrive and grow – that’s its purpose,” Fine told FloridaPolitics.com by telephone on Thursday from Tallahassee. “There are folks that think business should be left up to local government and then there are folks like me who think the nexus of business runs through the state.”
Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Gina Duncan, transgender inclusion director for the Equality Florida Institute, a partnership between advocacy and charity nonprofits that form the largest civil rights group dedicated to the civil rights of Florida’s LGBT community.
“HB 17 basically reverses the work that has been done in the last two decades to provide protection to LGBT people in employment, housing and accommodations,” Duncan said by phone. “HB 17 is basically a watered-down version of the North Carolina House Bill 2. … We find it especially alarming and dangerous because we’ve been unable to get Tallahassee to move off this conservative track they’ve been on.”
Fine refuted the claim by LGBT advocacy groups that his bill was backdoor legislation to legal discrimination of minority groups.
“That’s not what the bill is going to do,” Fine said, at first not understanding a reporter’s question about criticism of what he strictly views as a pro-commerce measure. “There are all kinds of groups that feel their local governments have gone outside state lines.”
And he doesn’t get how it would affect the LGBT community, for example, either.
Barely a full day has passed since President Donald Trump’s administration put directives to public school’s reversing the previous policy outlined in 2015 and 2016, granting transgender students certain rights when it came to