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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

FL GOP bill could ban rainbow flags in schools, government buildings

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Friday, January 19, 2024   

Another GOP proposal is sparking controversy in Florida over freedom of expression, as it aims to ban rainbow flags from being displayed.

House Bill 901 by Rep. David Borrero, R-Sweetwater, would restrict any flags depicting a "racial, sexual orientation and gender, or political ideology viewpoint." LGBTQ+ advocates said they are well aware the goal is to target those who stand behind the "pride" flag.

Jon Harris Maurer, public policy director for Equality Florida, a civil rights organization in support of the LGBTQ+ community said the move is political in nature.

"The pride flag ban bill is unnecessary, unclear and unconstitutional," Maurer asserted. "It does not help everyday Floridians who are struggling with their homeowner's insurance and housing affordability. It is basically a 'cooked-up' solution to a made-up culture war."

Borrero has said the bill is designed to protect children, noting it would ban displays on lapel pins and would also include flags representing the Black Lives Matter movement being flown at any state or local government buildings, including public schools and universities.

Maurer stressed he thinks the proposal is a distraction from real issues and calls attention to bills to support vulnerable communities instead of marginalizing them. He cites bills including the Democrat-backed Freedom to Learn Act and the Health Care Freedom Act.

"It is about restoring Floridians' freedoms to make their own health care decisions, and make the best health care decisions for their families and their children, in consultation with their doctors," Maurer explained. "We've seen extreme government overreach recently and political interference with that sort of personal decision-making."

The Freedom to Learn Act would essentially roll back the GOP-sponsored Parental Rights in Education law, which mandates how sexual education and gender identity are discussed in schools.

Borrero's bill advanced on a party-line 9 to 5 vote by a House subcommittee. With a Republican supermajority in the Legislature, it stands a better chance of success than proposals from Democrats.


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