Florida Senate Resistance to Biological Sex and Gender Bill Won't Stop the House

Florida Senate Resistance to Biological Sex and Gender Bill Won't Stop the House

A bill changing "gender" to "sex" on driver's licenses won't be seen in the Senate, but that hasn't stopped the House

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
|
March 1, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—A hotly-contested bill changing driver's license requirements from "gender" to "sex" is dead in the Senate, though that hasn't stopped the House from trying to shove it through the Legislature.

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Doug Bankson, the comprehensive HB 1639 revamps license requirements by asking for "sex" instead of "gender". Furthermore, it mandates insurance companies covering sex reassignment surgeries also cover the cost of de-transitioning from these procedures.

Bankson, who calls his measure the "Compassion and Clarity" bill, explains his provisions are designed to create clarity and parity across the state, in hopes of "removing confusion and maintaining the original purpose of the state statute regarding driver's license and ID cards," he said on the House Floor Thursday.

The bill does not have a Senate companion and if a bill does not pass both chambers, it will not become law. Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo stated that the House bill will not enter her chamber. “That bill is still stuck in committee,” she said. “And so, pursuant to our rules, we don’t…ever take bills out of committee.”

"This bill's not going to be heard in the Senate, so I don't even know why we're here," Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon said Thursday.

In response to a question about what would occur if a person's sex on their driver's license did not match their stated gender, Republican Rep. Dean Black, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said, "It's not different from someone who's born with blue eyes who gets green contacts: they'll appear as they appear, but we all understand that their sex is an immutable biological characteristic."

Senate President Passidomo's comments happened amidst a transgender rights protest at the Capitol Wednesday afternoon, in which the LGBTQ activist group Equality Florida bussed people up to Tallahassee to fight against HB 1369.

At the rally, protesters chanted things like, "Ron DeSantis has got to go", "Protect trans youth", and "These hateful laws have got to go".

“We will not see the light of day of hateful legislation that they’re doing over in the House,” Democratic Sen. Shevin Jones said at the protest. “And that’s something to celebrate.”

After a series of failed Democratic amendments attempting to water down the bill, the bill has been set for debate on the Floor tomorrow. It remains to be seen if House members have a plan to somehow get the measure seen in the Senate.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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