Wednesday, April 6, 2016

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio places travel ban on city-funded trips to Mississippi

(West Palm Beach, Florida) -- In the wake of Mississippi's enactment of HB 1523, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio became the first mayor in Florida -- and the second in the nation after Seattle Mayor Ed Murray -- to place a travel ban on city-funded trips to Mississippi.

HB 1523, which was signed into law yesterday by Mississippi's Republican Governor, Phil Bryant, allows people with religious objections to deny services to lesbian and gays and permits employers to use religious beliefs as justification in determining workplace policies.

"For more than two decades, West Palm Beach has been in the forefront, protecting the civil rights and ensuring equality for the LGBT community," said Muoio. "Until the discriminatory laws in Mississippi and North Carolina are repealed, West Palm Beach taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people."

On March 28, Muoio became the second mayor in the nation -- after San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee - to impose a similar ban on travel to North Carolina following the enactment of another comprehensive anti-LGBT law in that state.

Mayor Muoio implemented the two travel bans at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), a local civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  Since 1990, PBCHRC has been responsible for the enactment of more than 100 local laws and policies which prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

"Once again, Mayor Muoio has taken steps to ensure that taxpayers dollars will not be spent in places that discriminate against LGBT Americans," said retired judge Rand Hoch, PBCHRC President and Founder.  "We commend Mayor Muoio for putting her strong beliefs against bigotry into action by prohibiting taxpayer dollars being used in both Mississippi and North Carolina."

Last year, Muoio was one of a handful of mayors who announced a similar travel ban to the state of Indiana, following the
wake of Indiana's passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,

As the result of pressure placed on Indiana by civic leaders, businesses, and numerous other entities, the Indiana Legislature promptly amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,by specifying that the law could not be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Following Muoio's announcement this morning, travel bans to Mississippi have been implemented by the governors of Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington as well as the mayors of.San Francisco and Seattle.

Monday, March 28, 2016

West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio places travel ban on city-funded trips to North Carolina

(West Palm Beach, Florida) -- In the wake of North Carolina's enactment of HB2, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio became the first mayor in Florida to place a travel ban on city-funded trips to North Carolina.

HB2, which was passed by North Carolina's Republican-controlled General Assembly and signed into law  by Gov. Pat McCrory last week, nullified local LGBT rights laws in North Carolina.  The law was enacted in response to an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance in Charlotte, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The Charlotte ordinance also allowed transgender people to use bathrooms which relate to their gender identity.

"For more than two decades, West Palm Beach has been in the forefront, protecting the civil rights and ensuring equality for the LGBT community," said Muoio. "Until North Carolina's  discriminatory law is amended or repealed, West Palm Beach taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people."

Mayor Muoio took this action at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), a local civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  Since 1990, PBCHRC has been responsible for the enactment of more than 100 local laws and policies which prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

"North Carolina's leaders have struck down local LGBT-inclusive discrimination ordinances and have prohibited the enactment of similar laws forever," said retired judge Rand Hoch, PBCHRC President and Founder.  "We commend Mayor Muoio for putting her strong beliefs against bigotry into action by prohibiting taxpayer dollars being used in North Carolina."

Numerous corporations including Apple, IBM, Facebook, Google and Wells Fargo have issued statements condemning the State of North Carolina for enacting HB2.

Last Friday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee imposed a similar ban on travel to North Carolina.

In 2015, Muoio was one of a handful of mayors who announced a similar travel ban to the state of Indiana, following the enactment of Indiana's passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

As the result of pressure placed on Indiana by civic leaders, businesses, and numerous other entities, the Indiana Legislature promptly amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,by specifying that the law could not be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"The focus in now on the North Carolina General Assembly," said Hoch.  "Until they repeal this clearly unconstitutional law, the LGBT and allied communities will we will keep the economic pressure on." 

Friday, March 25, 2016

PBCHRC President's Message - March 2016

March, 2016

Once again, LGBT voters in Palm Beach County turned out in force in the municipal elections (and the Presidential Primary) held earlier this month.
Congratulations to three longtime PBCHRC supporters from Lake Worth - Mayor Pam Triolo, City Commissioners Andy Amoroso and City Commissioner Scott Maxwell - who were re-elected in the March 15 election.  All three of these civil leaders have been outspoken in their support of LGBT rights and marriage equality.

Congratulations also go out to West Palm Beach City Commission Sylvia Moffett whi was also re-elected in a contested election on March 15.  (West Palm Beach City Commissioners Paula Ryan and Shanon Materio were re-elected without opposition.)  All three public officials have been outspoken advocates on LGBT issues and PBCHRC initiatives.

On March 15, voters also elected the fifth openly LGBT mayor in Palm Beach County history!

In Wellington, two PBCHRC supporters - John McGovern and Michael Napoleone - were elected to the Village Council without opposition.  Unfortunately, Wellington Mayor Bob Margolis and Village Councilman John Greene lost their re-election bids in a hotly contested election.  (Incoming Mayor Anne Gerwig who defeated Margolis, did vote in favor of the LGBT Civil Rights ordinance proposed by PBCHRC last year.)

In Riviera Beach, Tonya Davis Johnson garnered the most votes on March 15 in her race for a seat on the Riviera Beach City Council.  However, since she did not receive a majority of the votes cast, she must win again in the March 29 runoff election. 
 
There is another key runoff election being held on March 29 - for Mayor of Boynton Beach.  Longtime incumbent Mayor Jerry Taylor has been a thorn in PBCHRC's side since the mid-1990s when he first opposed a gay rights ordinance sought by PBCHRC.  More recently he has spoken out against domestic partnership benefits and he was the sole vote against enacting an LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance for his city.  
 
Fortunately, Taylor is being challenged by Steven Grant, who has been endorsed by the PBCHRC Voters Alliance. Grant is a strong supporter of LGBT rights who can defeat Taylor - if enough people turn out and vote. 

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance (PBCHRCVA)  has been screening candidates for public office, making endorsements, educating public officials and taking action with the sole purpose of changing laws and policies to provide equal treatment and equal benefits for the local LGBT community. PBCHRCVA endorsements are made upon consideration of how candidates have voted on LGBT issues and how they have supported the Palm Beach County LGBT community.  (A complete list of 2016 endorsed candidates can be found at http://pbchrc.blogspot.com/2015/11/pbchrc-voters-alliance-endorsements.html.)

Working to elect LGBT-supportive public officials has resulted in the enactment of the local laws and policies that now provide Palm Beach County's LGBT residents and visitors with equal rights, protections and benefits. 
 
Last year, elected officials in eight local municipalities - Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Haverhill, Lake Clarke Shores, Riviera Beach, Wellington  and West Palm Beach - voted to enact LGBT-inclusive civil rights laws and policies.  The Palm Beach County Commissioners, officials at the Port of Palm Beach, the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida Atlantic University and the South Florida Water Management District also took steps last year to ensure the rights of LGBT people were protected.

Our successes have continued in 2016. 
  • In January, Lake Worth City Commissioners unanimously voted to (a) amend the city's Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, (b) amend the city's Merit Services policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression and (c) amend the city's Procurement Code to ensure equal opportunity based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  
  • Later that month, the Town of Haverhill amended its Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Policies to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."
  • In March, the Town of Lake Clarke Shores updated its Anti-Harassment Policy to specifically include "gender identity or expression" among the protected classes.
To date, local public employers that have enacted ordinances, resolutions,  collective bargaining agreements and policies prohibiting discrimination based on both "sexual orientation" and/or "gender identity or expression" for their employees include the City of Atlantis, the City of Belle Glade, the City of Pahokee, the City of Palm Beach Gardens, the City of South Bay, the Town of Haverhill, the Town of Hypoluxo, the Town of Juno Beach, the Town of Jupiter, the Town of Lake Clarke Shores, the Town of Lake Park, the Town of Manalapan, the Town of Palm Beach, the Town of Palm Beach Shores, the City of Riviera Beach, the Village of Royal Palm Beach, the Village of Tequesta, the School District of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach State College, Florida Atlantic University,  the Port of Palm Beach, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, the Office of the Tax Collector, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of the State Attorney, the Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office, the Office of the Clerk and Comptroller, Seacoast Utility Authority, the Solid Waste Authority, Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County Children's Services Council and the South Florida Water Management District.

At PBCHRC's request, the City of West Palm Beach added an LGBT web page to the city's website in February. The page presents information on the city's history of supporting the LGBT community, as well as contact information for the City's liaison to the LGBT community and the City of West Palm Beach Police Department's liaison to the LGBT community.  To access the new web page, go to: http://wpb.org/Contact/LGBT-Liaison.

Because of the overwhelming lack of support for LGBT rights in the Florida Legislature, LGBT people around the state must continue to work on the county and municipal level to enact laws providing equal rights and benefits for our community.

On the statewide level, 2016 was a horrible year for LGBT rights in Florida.
  • After trying for seven years to get a vote in the Florida legislature on an LGBT-inclusive civil rights act, Equality Florida succeeded in getting a committee to hear the bill. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated in early February.  So, while Florida has the third largest LGBT population of any state in the union (following California and New York), our state still lacks any statewide laws offering protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents regarding employment, housing and public accommodations. 
  • Later in the session, the Florida Legislature overwhelmingly passed the so-called "Pastor Protection Act" to shield clergy, churches, and religious organizations and their employees from civil action for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. Governor Rick Scott signed it into law on March 10.
In contrast, thanks to the efforts of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council over the past 28 years, more than 100 local laws and policies now provide Palm Beach County's LGBT residents (and visitors) with both equal protection and equal benefits.

SAVE THE DATES
 
April 2, 2016            Tailgate with PBCHRC at Gay Polo 
July 9, 2016             Summer Soirée in West Palm Beach  
January 14, 2017     Winter Fête in Wellington  

Please join Palm Beach County Human Rights Council supporters for open bar and snacks at our Tailgate Party at the International Gay Polo League Tournament between  1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 2 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.  For tickets to the upcoming Gay Polo League events, go to: http://www.gaypolo.com/the-event/.

Joseph Publiones, PBCHRC President Rand Hoch and Don Todorich

 
Once again, Joseph Pubillones Interiors and  REALTOR Don Todorich of the Corcoran Group are sponsoring our tailgate party.  Thanks Joseph and Donnie!
 
Thanks to our longtime supporters (with an assist from social media), the 2016 Winter Fête sold out shortly after we sent out our "Save the Date" cards.  We didn't have to send out a single invitation!  We are strictly limited to no more than 100 attendees at the July 9, 2016 Summer Soirée, which will be held at the fabulous new home of Jeffrey P. Ganek in West Palm Beach's South End. 
Jeff Ganek's new home - site of the PBCHRC's 2016 Summer Soirée

So if you are interested in attending PBCHRC's Summer Soirée, keep checking the PBCHRC events page (www.pbchrc.org/events.html) to see when tickets become available so you won't miss out! 

PBCHRC Treasurer Dan Hall and 2015 Scholarship Recipient Ethan Kennedy 
 
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is accepting applications for the Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Award -- a college scholarship available to graduating LGBT high school seniors from Palm Beach County. Each year we award this scholarship to local college bound high school seniors who have demonstrated an interest in advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community. 

PBCHRC's Social Justice Award is named after Daniel S. Hall, a local attorney who manages a financial counseling company.  Hall has served as the Treasurer of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council since 1990 and is its longest serving board member.  As a father of three, an activist, and a mentor of gay youth, Hall has always had a strong interest in education.

If you are - or know - a college-bound high school senior and are interested in applying for the scholarship, please go to http://bit.ly/PBCHRC to apply.  The deadline is midnight on April 6, 2016.
 
Diversity Honors recipient Rae Franks, Esquire.

Finally, PBCHRC congratulates our longtime Secretary and Board Member Rae Franks for being selected to receive a Diversity Honors Award from the Harvey Milk Foundation. Information concerning the May 13, 2016 Diversity Honors Awards ceremony will be sent out shortly.

Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has worked diligently on behalf of the LGBT community. Since there is virtually no chance of enacting either federal or statewide LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws in the immediate future, we will focus on work that remains to be done on the local level in 2016 - and beyond.

Rand Hoch,
President and Founder 

This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance. 
 
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance 
Post Office Box 267 
West Palm Beach, Florida 33402 

Monday, January 11, 2016

LGBT-Supportive Laws and Policies in Palm Beach County, Florida - updated (3/8/16)

1.    1990 - Palm Beach County amends its Fair Housing Ordinance to protect gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from discrimination in housing, financing for housing, and in public accommodations. 

2.    1990 - Palm Beach County becomes the first public employer in Florida to amend the County's Affirmative Action Plan to protect gay and lesbian County employees from discrimination in County hiring and employment.   
3.    1991 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to enact an ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public employment.

4.    1991 - West Palm Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.    

5.    1991 - Boynton Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.

6.    1991 - Riviera  Beach adopts a policy prohibiting the use of any public funds for organizations or facilities which discriminate on the basis of several protected classes, including sexual orientation.

7.    1992 - West Palm Beach becomes the first public employer in Florida to provide domestic partnership benefits for municipal employees.

8.    1994 - West Palm Beach enacts an Equal Opportunity Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

Note:   1995 - Voters in West Palm Beach overwhelmingly reject the effort to repeal the Equal Opportunity Ordinance by a margin of 56% to 43%.  West Palm Beach becomes the first jurisdiction in Florida to withstand a repeal effort by popular vote.

9.    1996 - Lake Park enacts an Equal Opportunity/Minority and Women Business Enterprises Ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on  sexual orientation.

10.    1999 - Atlantis updates its Police Department’s Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace Policy to include sexual orientation.

11.    2002 - The Palm Beach County Sheriffs' Office offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

12.    2002 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners amends the County's Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation.

13.    2003 - West Palm Beach extends lifetime health insurance benefits to the surviving domestic partner of any city employee killed in the line of duty

14.    2003 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a policy to protect students against harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.

15.    2003 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

16.    2004 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

17.    2004 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections becomes the first local public employer to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

18.    2004 - The Port of Palm Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

19.    2004 - Lake Worth offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

20.    2004 - The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

21.    2005 - West Palm Beach establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.
  
22.    2005 - Belle Glade amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy to include sexual orientation

23.    2006 - Belle Glade enacts s Special Event Permit Ordinance specifically prohibiting discrimination based on “sexual orientation or gender related grounds.”

24.    2006 - Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

25.    2006 - The School District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

26.    2006 - The Office of the Supervisor of Elections offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

27.    2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector revises its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

28.    2006 - The Office of the Tax Collector offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

29.    2006 - Palm Beach County establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

30.    2006 - Delray Beach offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

31.    2006 - The Palm Beach County School Board adopts a Commercial Nondiscrimination Policy which prohibits the School District from doing business with firms which discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or any other form of unlawful discrimination.

32,    2006 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University trustees adopts an Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation covering all classes protected by law.  (Gay men and lesbians at FAU's Palm Beach and Broward campuses would be covered under the regulation because such discrimination is prohibited by county ordinances.)

33.    2006 -  West Palm Beach extends health insurance continuation coverage (COBRA) to city employees with domestic partners.

34.    2006 - Palm Tran offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

35.    2007-  West Palm Beach amends its Equal Opportunity Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression  in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation.

36.    2007 - Lake Worth amends the city's Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

37.    2007 - Jupiter offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

38.    2007 - Juno Beach revises its non-discrimination and harassment awareness policies to include sexual orientation.

39.    2007 - Juno Beach revises the definition of "immediate family" with regard to bereavement leave to include an employee's "significant other."

40.    2007 - Hypoluxo amends its non-discrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

41.    2007 - The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office amends its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and marital status.

42.    2007 - The Health Care District of Palm Beach County offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

43.    2007 - The Solid Waste Authority updates its nondiscrimination policies in early 2007 to include sexual orientation

44.    2007 - The Solid Waste Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.
                              
45.    2007 - Palm Beach County amends its Equal Employment Ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

46.    2007 - Tequesta enacts comprehensive policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

47.    2007 - Royal Palm Beach amends its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and its Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

48.    2007 - Palm Beach Gardens City Council implements basic domestic partner benefits for city employees.

49.    2008 - Palm Beach Community College offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

50.    2008 - The Palm Beach County School Board expands the definition of "family" in the School District's Leave of Absence policy to include employees' domestic partners and their children.

51.    2008 - The Palm Beach County School Board includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression  as protected classes in a comprehensive policy protecting students against bullying and harassment.

52.    2008 - Tequesta revises its collective bargaining agreements and its employee handbook to include domestic partners as members of employee's immediate family.
53.    2008 - The South Florida Water Management Districts amends its policies to prohibit harassment based on gender identity or expression.

54.    2009 - The Palm Beach County Children's Services Council offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

55.    2009 - Seacoast Utility Authority offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

56.    2009 - The School District of Palm Beach County includes the children of employees' domestic partners as eligible dependents for health insurance coverage.

57.    2010 - The Palm Beach County School Board revises all of the School District’s  nondiscrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

58.    2011 - Wellington offers family health insurance coverage for employees with domestic partners.

59.    2011 - Wellington amends their non-discrimination policies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

60.    2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Harassment Policy to include gender identity or expression.

61.    2011 - The Office of the State Attorney revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

62.    2011 - West Palm Beach revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.      

63.    2011 - The Office of the Public Defender revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

64.    2011 - Palm Beach County revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

65.    2011 - The Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University adds sexual orientation to the school’s Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Regulation.

66.    2012 - Delray Beach revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

67.    2012 - Palm Beach County amends its Nondiscrimination in Contracting Policy to include gender identity or expression.

68.    2012 - The West Palm Beach Housing Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

69.    2012 - The Office of the Clerk and Comptroller revises its Family Medical Leave Policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as are provided to families based on legally recognized marriages.

70.    2013 - Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits implements a tax equity policy providing eligible employees with domestic partners a $500 annual stipend to offset the additional federal income taxes which assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

71.    2013 - Palm Beach County's Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon implements a tax equity policy providing eligible employees with domestic partners a $500 annual stipend to offset the additional federal income taxes which assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

72.    2013 - The Town of South Palm Beach adds "sexual orientation" and "any other legally protected status" to the Town's nondiscrimination statement.

73.    2013 - The Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority adds gender identity or expression to its nondiscrimination policy.

74.    2013 - The City of Delray Beach updates its policy against discrimination, harassment and bullying to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression."   

75.    2013 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse municipal employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

76.    2013 - Florida Atlantic University offers a domestic partnership stipend to university employees and allows employees to use sick leave to care for their domestic partners.

77.    2013 - The Palm Beach Town Council votes 4-1 to implement the full range of domestic partnership benefits for Town employees.

78.    2013 -  Palm Beach County enacts a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse municipal employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

79.    2013 - The City of Boca Raton amends its personnel rules and regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

80.    2013 - The City of Boca Raton extends the jurisdiction of the Community Relations Board to include the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

81.    2013 - The City of Boca Raton extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees. The benefits include health, dental and vision insurance, continuation of insurance coverage (identical to coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA), funeral leave, domestic violence leave, family sick leave and domestic partner leave (identical to coverage by the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA).

82.    2013 - The City of Palm Beach Gardens offers full domestic partnership health insurance benefits to its municipal employees.

83.    2014 -  The Clerk and Comptroller for Palm Beach County implements a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

84.    2014 - Lake Worth establishes a Domestic Partnership Registry.

85.    2014 - Lake Worth implements a tax equity reimbursement policy to reimburse employees insuring their domestic partners for the full amount of the additional federal income taxes which are assessed on employees whose domestic partners receive health insurance through their employers.

86.    2014 - The City of West Palm Beach enacts and Equal Benefits Ordinance requiring city contractors to provide the same family benefits to employees with domestic partners and same-sex spouses as they provided to employees whose marriages are recognized by the state of Florida.

87.    2014 - The City of Boynton Beach amends its personnel policies to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

88.    2014 - The City of Boynton Beach extends the full range of domestic partnership benefits to its municipal employees.

89.    2014 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously votes to establish a policy stating that the County shall not do business with, or appropriate funds to, any public or private organization which practices discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability or genetic information.

90.    2014 -  The Town of Lake Park updates its Equal Employment Policy to prohibit discrimination based on "gender identity or expression"

91.    2015 - The Port of Palm Beach includes an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination clause in their contract with Bahamas Paradise Cruiseline.

92.    2015 - The Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County updates its nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

93.    2015 - The City of Boynton Beach enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

94.    2015 - The City of  Riviera Beach amends its Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy to include both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

95.    2015 - The City of Greenacres enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

96.    2015 - The City of Delray Beach enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

97.    2015 - Florida Atlantic University amends Regulation 5.010, Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment, to include "gender identity and expression".

98.    2015 - The Town of Lake Clarke Shores unanimously adopts  an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.

99.    2015 - The Town of Haverhill adopts an LGBT-inclusive resolution supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals.

100.    2015 - The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners  votes to vastly expand the  definition of "places of public accommodation" in the Palm Beach County Ordinance for Equal Opportunity to Housing and Places of Public Accommodation. 

101.    2015 - The Village of Wellington enacts an LGBT-inclusive Civil Rights Ordinance.

102.    2015 - The West Palm Beach City Commission votes to vastly expand the  definition of "public accommodations" in the West Palm Beach Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

103.   2015 - The School District of Palm Beach County replaces the phrase “personal life style (including sexual orientation)” with the phrases “gender identity and/or gender expression” and “sexual orientation” in the Discrimination and Harassment article in the School District’s collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union.

104.    2015 - The South Florida Water Management District announced that it prohibits transgender workers from being harassed and discriminated against based on both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" even if they work in a jurisdiction that has no LGBT-inclusive rights laws.

105.    2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Equal Employment Opportunity  Policy to prohibit discrimination against Town employees based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

106.    2016 -  The Town of Haverhill amended its Anti-Harassment Policy to prohibit harassment against Town employees based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression".

107.  2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amends the city’s Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

108.  2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amends the city’s Merit Services policy to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

109.  2016 - The Lake Worth City Commission amends the city’s Procurement Code to ensure equal opportunity based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

110.  2016 -  The Town of Lake Clarke Shores amends its Anti-Harassment Policy to prohibit harassment against Town employees based on "gender identity or expression."
 

Monday, January 4, 2016

PBCHRC Founder Rand Hoch to Receive PBSC's Dr. King Award

 By at January 1, 2016

 
Rand Hoch To Receive PBSC’s Dr. King Award
Palm Beach State College will present retired judge Rand Hoch with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award during the school’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The event attracts hundreds of students, faculty, staff and members of the community each year.
Hoch was nominated for the award by attorney Rae Franks, a law school classmate who has worked with him on numerous civil rights projects for many years.

“In law school, Rand and I shared a passion for advancing workers’ rights,” Franks said. “Over the years, he has worked tirelessly as a pro bono advocate, activist and organizer working to secure equal rights for minorities and women.”

Hoch became a political activist while still in his teens, growing up in Massachusetts in the 1960s. As a key organizer in the voting rights movement, Hoch, at the time a high school student, was one of only a handful of people invited to witness the bill lowering the voting age signed into law.

Throughout his college and law school years, Hoch remained immersed in political causes. When he moved to Palm Beach County in the 1980s, his law practice centered on representing workers and unions.

In 1988, Hoch founded the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Under his leadership, the council has been successful in having civil rights laws enacted which secure protected status for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in private and public employment, housing and public accommodations.

Hoch was also instrumental in having the Palm Beach County School District adopt a comprehensive policy protecting public school students from harassment and bullying. To date, Hoch has been responsible for the enactment of more than 100 laws and policies extending equal rights and benefits to the LGBT Floridians. “With this award, Palm Beach State College has recognized the civil rights work done by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council over the years,” Hoch said. “It is a humbling experience to receive an award honoring Dr. King.”

In 2005, Palm Beach State College unveiled a 5-foot granite monument and named a courtyard on its Lake Worth in honor of the civil rights leader. The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is free and open to the public. It will take place on the Lake Worth campus on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. The keynote speaker for the celebration will be Morehouse College Professor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. In 2011, Ebony magazine named him one of America’s 100 most influential black leaders.

To RSVP to the event, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/mlk.

Monday, November 23, 2015

PBCHRC Voters Alliance endorsements (updated 4/8/16)

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance endorses candidates who support LGBT initiatives and privacy rights. Endorsements of candidates are made upon consideration of:
  • How a candidate has voted on LGBT issues
  • How a candidate has supported the Palm Beach County LGBT Community

The following candidates have been endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance for election (or re-election) in 2016:

Endorsed

President - Hillary Clinton (Dem.)
U.S. Senator - Patrick E. Murphy (Dem.)
U.S. Congressman (Dist.20) - Alcee Hastings (Dem.)
U.S. Congresswoman (Dist.21) - Lois Frankel (Dem.)
U.S. Congressman (Dist. 22) - Ted Deutch (Dem.)
Public Defender - Carey Haughwout (Dem.)   
State Attorney - Dave Aronberg (Dem.)
Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher (Dem.)
Tax Collector - Anne M. Gannon (Dem.)
County Commissioner (Dist. 5) - Mary Lou Berger (Dem.)

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance has also made an endorsement regarding the following referendum question on the November 8, 2016 ballot.

       Amendment 2 (Medical Marijuana) - YES


The following candidates endorsed by The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance were elected to hold office in 2016:

Boynton Beach Mayor Steven B. Grant

Lake Worth Mayor - Pam Triolo
Lake Worth City Commissioner (Dist. 1) - Scott Maxwell
Lake Worth City Commissioner (Dist. 3) - Andy Amoroso


Rivera Beach City Councilwoman (Dist. 3) - Tonya Davis Johnson 


Wellington Village Councilman (Seat 3) - John McGovern
Wellington Village Councilman (Seat 4) -  Michael Napoleone


West Palm Beach City Commissioner (Dist. 1) - Sylvia Moffett
West Palm Beach City Commissioner (Dist. 3) - Paula Ryan
West Palm Beach City Commissioner (Dist. 5) - Shanon Materio



This paid electioneering communication, which is independent of any party, candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council Voters Alliance.
Post Office Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402
(561) 358-0105


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

West Palm Beach acts to ban retailer discrimination

 
City acts to ban retailer discrimination
By Tony Doris Palm Beach Post Staff Writer 
 
The impetus came from calls to the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council from young black men, that shopkeepers would follow them around stores or demand extra ID. The nickname for their assumed offense: "Shopping while Black." 

The gay and lesbian community also felt the sting of wedding cake bakers or photographers who refused to serve them.    

The push-back came Monday night with a unanimous final vote of the city commission: an amendment to West Palm Beach's human rights law, banning discrimination by an expanded list of "public accommodations," from restaurants and bars to schools, bakeries, hotels, theaters, spas, gyms and any other "establishment, service, place or building which offers, sells or otherwise makes available any good, service, facility, privilege or advantage."    

The amendment, approved without discussion, followed the passage of a similar change to Palm Beach County's law.  
 
"It's the biggest expansion in civil rights in the city and county in decades," Rand Hoch, president of the Human Rights Council, said Tuesday.    

Hoch said he is working with Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, to propose a state law with the same prohibitions. Florida laws are "really bad, really primitive" and may take years to change, he said.    

West Palm adopted its Equal Opportunity Ordinance in 1994 and has updated it from time to time. But the city law was modeled after civil rights legislation that dated from the 1960s and that focused on lunch counters, hotels, and bars and theaters but didn't reflect the changing face of discrimination, Hoch said.    

"All these years since then, when they've tweaked them, they've never really looked where discrimination was taking place. And it's taking place almost everywhere business occurs... We saw nothing in the laws in Palm Beach County that dealt with consumer racism," Hoch said.    

Now, he says, whether you're a black customer or a gay couple and someone says they are not going to bake your wedding cake, "that's illegal," Hoch said.   

It took about eight months for the city and county to consider and research the proposed changes. There was little resistance from the business community, he said. Extending those protections statewide could take three or four years, he said.   

The West Palm amendment represents the county's 101st legal change that deals with LGBT rights, by his count.    

"As a civil rights lawyer, this is one of the things I'm most proud of having West Palm Beach do, because it covers so many people."