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Florida lawmakers file bill to create Florida’s first Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Florida Capitol
Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 16:33:53-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida State Senator Lori Berman (D-Delray Beach) and Representative Tracie Davis (D-Jacksonville) filed Senate Bill 180 and House Bill 275 to create Florida’s first Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, headed by the Chief Diversity Officer.

Berman and Davis' proposed bills state the Chief Diversity Officer would advise the governor on existing inequities among minority groups in the state and engage with state agencies and business leaders to identify inclusive practices that support the recruitment and retention of employees from underrepresented groups.

“Roughly half of S&P 500 companies and over two-thirds of our major public universities have appointed Chief Diversity Officers,” said Senator Berman. “Florida should follow the lead of our business and academic communities in leveraging diversity as a strength. Simply put, this is about humanity and money. If we want a vibrant workforce that empowers and represents the people of this state, we need to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion within both the public and private sector[s]. I believe establishing this office and appointing a Chief Diversity Officer will achieve that and set Florida on a path of inclusive excellence.”

“While it is no secret that having diversity in our state’s workforce, healthcare, and education is important in our fight to eliminate inequities, this bill would create an avenue to ensure policies and standards are in place to eradicate discrimination,” said Representative Davis.

The office would also facilitate implicit bias trainings within Florida’s agencies.