Things That Matter

Florida Republicans Just Introduced Four Anti-LGBTQ Bills On The Last Day Possible And People Are Asking Why Now?

Seven Republican lawmakers in Florida filed four anti-LGBTQ bills hours before the deadline for the upcoming legislative session this week. The bills undo many of the protections that exist for LGBTQ Florida residents. The four bills would repeal county and municipal ordinances for LGBTQ workers, legalize gay conversion therapy, and ban transgender healthcare for children, according to NBC News. 

The homophobic and transphobic legislation was introduced by representatives Anthony Sabatini, Bob Rommel, Michael Grant, and Byron Donalds, along with Senators Joe Gruters and Keith Perry. Florida Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, and other advocates are now fighting against the bills’ passing. 

Advocates respond to the bill calling it “discrimination and hate.”

“Clearly they’ve decided that discrimination and hate are central to their election-year platform despite our state’s incredible diversity,” Jones said in a statement. “Just as I’ve done since I was elected in 2012, I will continue to fight any legislation that marginalizes or threatens any Floridian’s shot at a secure, safe, and bright quality of life.”

Jones also accused Florida Republicans of, “wasting tax dollars attacking Florida’s most vulnerable communities rather than prioritizing the issues that impact everyday people’s lives.” 

Equality Florida released a statement highlighting many of the consequences such a bill would have. 

“This is the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida Legislature in recent memory,” Jon Harris Maurer, the group’s public policy director, said. “It runs the gamut from openly hostile legislation that would arrest and imprison doctors for providing medically necessary care, to legislation that would carelessly erase critical local LGBTQ protections.”

Senator Gruters defends the bill, claiming it “includes protections.”

“The bill certainly does not authorize an employer to discriminate against employees who are members of protected classes, whether protected by federal or state law or local ordinance,” Gruters told NBC News via email.  “While I do not believe the bill has any impact on local anti-discrimination ordinances, in an abundance of caution, I included language in the bill’s preamble to make clear that the preemption would not affect local anti-discrimination laws, and any court would interpret the preemption consistent with that preamble.” 

While Gruters claims it would include protections, Joe Saunders, senior political director at Equality Florida, claims that these so-called protections are merely a part of the bill’s preamble and would carry no weight should the bills become law. 

“We appreciate that Sen. Gruters put that in,” Saunders said. “It’s not policy; it’s not considered part of the bill.”

Democratic senator Lori Berman suggested the bill was nothing more than a political stunt to garner votes from homophobic and transphobic constituents. 

“I’m disappointed to see some of my colleagues proposing this regressive and discriminatory anti-LGBT agenda,” Berman wrote on Twitter. “What benefit to the public does this legislation actually serve, apart from tossing red meat to a political base in an election season?” 

Trans children are particularly vulnerable to the policies. 

“Transgender youth are some of the most at risk in our community,” Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality, told NBC News. “It is outrageous that conservative legislators would threaten their health and safety. Medical professionals, not politicians, should decide what medical care is in the best interest of a patient. Forcing a doctor to deny best practice medical care and deny support to transgender youth can be life-threatening.”

Making it illegal for doctors to provide necessary care to trans children certainly goes against the Hippocratic oath, but if you think something so dystopian can’t happen just look at how Republicans have slowly chipped away at abortion rights – another form of necessary care that can be life-saving. 

Just yesterday South Dakora Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would also ban doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries or treatments on children. Similar bills have been filed in Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

According to the Associated Press, “The Endocrine Society, which is the leading professional organization for doctors who specialize in hormones, does not recommend gender-transition medical treatment before puberty for children who do not identify with their biological gender. For youths experiencing puberty and older adolescents, the Endocrine Society recommends that a team composed of expert medical professionals and mental health professionals manages treatment.”

Opponents of these anti-trans bills believe the laws interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and contradict the widely accepted practices of the medical community. 

“Sadly, the medical care of transgender youth has been sensationalized and politicized,” Jack Turban, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. “Gender-affirming medical care for transgender adolescents is endorsed by major medical organizations, including the Endocrine Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. It should go without saying, but providing standard medical care should not be a felony.”

AOC Wants Coronavirus ‘Reparations’ For Minority Communities

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AOC Wants Coronavirus ‘Reparations’ For Minority Communities

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For minority groups, there’s no denying that COVID-19 has had extreme effects.

According to reports COVID-19 deaths have appeared at disproportionate amounts in African-American and immigrant communities. In New York, where COVID-19 deaths have reached all highs, nearly a third of New York City’s infections are in Queens- a city with one of the most diverse populations in the world. More alarming is the fact that the hardest-hit neighborhoods are ones populated by undocumented and working-class people. In a recent interview with Democracy Now! Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Trump’s response to the pandemic for its part in the many deaths occurring across the United States highlighting them “deaths of incompetence,” “deaths of science denial” and “deaths of inequality.”

In her recent interview, Ocasio-Cortez called for coronavirus reparations for minorities.

Speaking about the enormous racial and ethnic disparity in the Coronavirus cases appearing in hospitals across the country, particularly the deaths that are occurring, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the need for government intervention. Particularly when it comes to Queens, New York. “This is one of the most working-class and, as you mentioned, blackest and brownest communities in New York City. It is extraordinarily dense. Even for New York City, it is a very dense and densely populated community,” Ocasio-Cortez explained. “It’s no surprise that, you know, in the wake of this pandemic, right after the Trump administration announced its public charge rule, which basically said, if you are undocumented and seek public services, public healthcare, SNAP, WIC, etc., then you will be essentially put on a fast track to either denial of citizenship or outright deportation — and so, now that we have this pandemic and it is hardest-hitting in communities that are heavily immigrant and also with strong historically black communities, as well, that people are either afraid to go to Elmhurst Hospital out of the cost or out of sheer fear that they will be put in the public charge list.”

Since the rise of the pandemic, Ocasio-Cortez has eagerly pointed out the higher numbers of COVID-19 fatalities in low-income communities and its roots in underlying inequality.

“COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities,” Ocasio-Cortez expressed her outrage in a Tweet last Friday. “Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions,” the Bronx-born lawmaker added. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”

Bernie Sanders Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race Clearing Path For Joe Biden

Things That Matter

Bernie Sanders Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race Clearing Path For Joe Biden

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After a long and valiant fight for Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has dropped out. Sen. Sanders led an energized campaign among young voters offering a future of closing economic inequality, Medicare for all, and affordable college for anyone who wants it. His ideas have forever changed the Democratic party and are pushing the platform to be one of the most progressive platforms in history.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has officially ended his campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

“I wish I could give you better news, but I think you know the truth and that is that we are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path towards victory is nearly impossible,” Sen. Sanders told his supporters in a video. “So while we are winning the ideological battle, and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic presidential nomination will not be successful. So, today, I’m announcing the suspension of my campaign.”

Sen. Sanders is calling on his supporters to join the larger fight for Democratic causes.

Now that Sen. Sanders has left the presidential race, Biden is the presumptive nominee. The former vice president has been leading in delegates since Super Tuesday with African-American voters showing up in large numbers to support Biden.

Sen. Sanders supporters are saddened by the news that their favorite abuelo will no longer be in the race.

Sen. Sanders tapped into emotions that have long bubbled under the political landscape. People want change and they want the kind of change that is going to positively impact their life. This means making healthcare, education, and social support more accessible. For millions of voters, Sen. Sanders was the candidate to make that happen.

His supporters felt seen by Sen. Sanders.

Sen. Sanders undoubtedly ran a campaign that spoke to the people who felt forgotten by politicians. Young voters, especially young Latino voters, flocked to Sen. Sanders because of his message of fighting for everyone to give America the best of what the people deserve.

Democratic candidates who have already left the race shared messages of support and appreciation for Sen. Sanders.

Beto O’Rourke was one of the many Democratic candidates fighting to become the Democratic presidential nominee. Recently, O’Rourke joined a handful of Democratic politicians who threw their support behind Biden after Super Tuesday and it seemed he would be the nominee.

Despite the politics and the global pandemic, people are grateful for Sen. Sanders and his fight for the common people.

Thank you, indeed Sen. Sanders has stayed true to his beliefs for decades and has bee able to energize a voting bloc that is often left out due to a lack of participation. Now, young voters are able to understand the importance of their input in politics.

READ: Latino Voters Deliver Bernie Sanders Major Victory In California Primary