The Parental Rights in Education bill was the hot topic this session in Tallahassee. Now that the legislation is passed, author of the bill, State Rep. Joe Harding (R-FL), is responding to critics after the opposition held the spotlight all legislative session, where he called them fear mongers.
The state level had more than enough to say about the rebranded, "Don't Say Gay," legislation. Named so for a provision in the bill that bans homosexuality from being discussed in classrooms from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Even President Biden (D) and Saturday Night Live had a say on the issue.
Now, Joe Harding has approached his turn to address the long list of criticisms thrown at his bill and Republicans who supported the effort to pass it though the legislature. Harding appeared on ABC this week where he maintained the theme of giving power to the parents over the education system.
"We have seen here in Florida as we see in school districts that have curriculum thats apart of their instruction, that they teach gender theory and the discussion around that comes with that curriculum." Stated Harding, "We have seen that in school districts in Florida. There's also some school districts that do questionaries with children, and so there is a legitimate concern and theres been even parents that have reached out, told their story in committee as well."
Representative Harding also responded to the criticism that many Democrats have held against the bill, in that LGBTQ youth is being oppressed and suppressed in the classroom with this law. Harding responded, "I just did research before this interview, of the hundreds of articles that have been written and called it the, 'Don't Say Gay bill,' for six weeks this has been in national news, not one of them has acknowledged the word 'gay,' is never in the bill. The word, 'LBGTQ' is never in the bill, what they [opposition] are doing is leading a fear mongering effort."
The bill was narrowly passed in the Florida Senate by a vote of 22-17 and is currently on its way to the governor's desk, where it will most likely become law on July 1, 2022.