PBHRC Notes Rick Scott Issues Discriminatory EO

Rick Scott has been sworn in as Florida’s 45th Governor following a prayer breakfast on the 4th day of the new year. He also swore in his new Lt. Governor, Carroll, who happens to be the first African American Lt. Governor our state has ever seen. But then he issued a handful of Executive Orders which immediately set the tone for his new career.

One such order was to freeze all state action in Florida by mandating that no agency issue any new rules or spend money without his explicit approval. Another order, EO 11-04, addresses non-discrimination policies to the extent of only race, gender, creed, color and national origin.

"Governor Scott did not even include all of the classifications listed in the Florida Civil Rights Act -- let alone sexual orientation and gender identity," said Rand Hoch. As President and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Hoch has become a familiar voice on behalf of equality issues in South Florida. He called Scott’s view of diversity “limited and very discouraging” according to an article by Steve Rothaus with the Miami Herald.

By ignoring the categories of “handicap” or “marital status” in his new non-discrimination policy, Scott has actually managed to add discrimination to the Florida Government policies which was not previously there. Those two categories are protected by Florida Law under our Civil Rights Act and many advocacy groups have been working tirelessly to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the language as well.

Rothaus pointed out that pregnancy is a protected classification according to Florida’s courts as well. But the staunchly pro-life Rick Scott has failed to acknowledge that as well.