The Florida House Passed Three Extreme Anti-Trans Bills in a Single Day

Republicans in Florida’s House of Representatives passed a trio of new anti-LGBTQ+ bills last week, jeopardizing gender-affirming medical care, teachers’ rights, and workplace discrimination protections with just days left in the legislative calendar.

Florida Republicans approved the bills in a series of votes on March 1, sending House Bills 433, 1291, and 1639 to the state Senate. In sum, the bills represent “an agenda of extreme censorship and government intrusion,” representatives from the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Florida wrote in a statement this week.

“Floridians are tired of this cruel culture war obsession that was ginned up to serve [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis’s failed presidential bid,” Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders wrote.

Equality Florida and other advocates have sounded an especially loud alarm about HB 1639, which would define a person’s “biological sex” based on genitals and presumed chromosomes, effectively ending any state recognition of transgender identities. Filed by GOP Rep. Dean Black in January, the bill would also require all health insurance providers in the state to cover mental health services that treat gender dysphoria “by affirming the insured’s sex” — a plain reference to conversion therapy, sometimes referred to by religious conservatives as “reparative therapy.” As The Intercept reported, the mandate for insurance companies is likely to raise the cost of healthcare for all Floridians.

It’s unclear whether HB 1639 will actually make it to a Senate vote, however. Multiple Florida legislators told reporters that the bill is permanently stuck in committee because it had not properly passed through the Senate confirmation process, and they do not expect it to be considered further.

“That bill is still stuck in committee,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Republican, said late last month, adding “We don’t […] ever take bills out of committee.” During debate last week, Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon said HB 1639 is “not going to be heard in the Senate, so I really don’t know why we’re here,” according to community radio station WMNF. Equality Florida representatives wrote on social media they are still nevertheless “staying vigilant” regarding the bill.

Equality Florida