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State bill pits business groups against local governments, LGBTQ groups

One person’s over regulation is another person’s protection. That’s part of the battle over Florida’s HB-3 bill, which is designed to cut down on the type of local law making that can frustrate businesses.

HB-3 would impact local regulations, such as restrictions on Uber and Airbnb, which have been issues in South Florida. Other examples cited are local measures that ban plastic straws, ban puppy mills and prohibit sun block that might damage reefs.

Airbnb is suing Miami Beach, saying its regulations about short-term rentals are too restrictive. The issue resulted in recent stories not only in the Miami Herald, but the New York Times.

The Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Equality Florida say the bill could create an open invitation to publicly discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer Floridians.

Under Florida state law, it is legal to fire someone, evict them from housing, or deny them service at a restaurant just because they are LGBTQ, according to Equality Florida. Equality Florida has been working on the local level to prevent discrimination. Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties all have measures to prevent discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation.

An article by Watchdog.org says a House subcommittee voted 9-5 along party lines to support the measure, which would eliminate all local business regulation as of July 21 and then require an economic impact analysis and supermajority approval every two years for them to be reauthorized.  Local governments could not impose occupational and professional licensing requirements.

One of the key lines in the bill requires that a local regulation “is being regulated in a manner that does not unnecessarily restrict entry into the business or adversely affect the availability of the business’ services to the public and the least restrictive and most cost-effective regulatory scheme is being used to regulate such business or business entity.”

The Bulldog says the Florida Retail Federation, Associated Industries of Florida and Florida Chamber of Commerce support the bill while the Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities and an array of labor unions, environmental organizations and civil-rights groups oppose it.

The LGBT chamber argues that the bill is actually counterproductive to business.
“Florida is a national leader in tourism, research, and entrepreneurship, and we vehemently stand against any bill that would create space for the legal discrimination against LGBT Floridians by repealing and blocking their local protections. LGBT inclusion is associated with higher levels of entrepreneurship and economic growth, whereas LGBT discrimination goes hand-in-hand with a decline in productivity and success,” said chamber co-founder and President Justin Nelson. “The NGLCC is bringing its 2019 International and Business Conference, the largest LGBT business event on the planet, to Tampa in August 2019 because of the pro-LGBT climate of the region. Considering conferences like ours leave a multimillion-dollar economic footprint behind, Florida lawmakers should reconsider the dangerous fiscal impact that a bill like HB-3 would have on the economy.”

 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.