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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill banning LGBT discrimination nearly dies, will be re-heard Tuesday



Mintues after leaving it for dead Monday, senators breathed new life into a proposal to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Floridians.

Supporters have one last shot Tuesday to pass the bill (SB 120), which would ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. It adds gender identity and sexual orientation to the state's existing civil rights statutes.

Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Lake Worth, the bill's sponsor, said he will work overnight to clear up concerns among the five Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted against the bill. Much of the debate revolved around public accommodations, specifically transgender people using restrooms and locker rooms that don't correspond with their sex at birth.

"Some are looking for stronger language that removes public accommodations entirely," Abruzzo said. "We're going to have to go back to our legal staff to talk to them about what impact that would do."

After a nearly two-hour hearing, the committee on Monday voted 5-5 on the proposal, but a majority is required to pass a bill out of a committee. In a last-ditch effort to let negotiations over details continue, senators moved to reconsider the bill Tuesday.

[Last modified: Monday, February 8, 2016 4:20pm]


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