Critical race theory ban moves forward in Florida chambers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are continuing to advance a controversial bill that would solidify the state’s ban on CRT, or critical race theory, in the classroom and even expand the prohibition to private businesses.

Republican lawmakers are moving quickly with this legislation despite concerns from Democrats.

The biggest problem with the legislation according to its opponents is that it isn’t clear what exactly constitutes Critical Race Theory.

Republican lawmakers believe the fight for racial justice, diversity and inclusion has in some cases been turned on its head.

“Asking us to consider people not as individuals, but as groups,” said Representative Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah), who is sponsoring the CRT ban in the House.

Avila’s bill would prohibit private and public employers from teaching employees concepts they consider discriminatory.

Examples in the bill include trainings that teach traits like hard work, objectivity and colorblindness are racist.

“HB 7 prohibits employers from requiring workplace training that compels workers to believe concepts contradictory to American principles of individual freedom,” said Avila.

But Democrats argued on Wednesday, part of the bill that says individuals shouldn’t feel discomfort or guilt based on their race or sex is overly vague.

“This is the trigger bill. If you get triggered you can sue. If you get triggered you can file complaints,” said State Representative Michael Grieco (D-North Bay Village).

The bill also solidifies the CRT ban in public schools.

“We see a few lawmakers wanting to talk about issues that really drive people out of the profession,” said Andrew Spar, President of the Florida Education Association.

Spar told us he’s worried the lack of clarity in the bill could make educating students a minefield for teachers.

“Anyone at any time can say that a teacher is imparting knowledge that is biased in some fashion on students or it’s making someone feel uncomfortable. And then we’re gonna put that teacher through the wringer, have an investigation, determine whether they did something wrong. We’re trying to get people to come into the profession,” said Spar.

But Republicans argued the bill simply reaffirms basic civil rights principles.

“That the color of your skin matters absolutely nothing in the greatest country the world has ever known,” said Representative John Snyder (R-Palm Bay).

The bill cleared its first committee with a party-line vote Wednesday morning.

It still has two more committee stops in the House and one in the Senate before floor votes in both chambers.