FL HB 7 (22R), or the Individual Freedom Act (also known as the Stop WOKE Act), was passed earlier this year by Florida’s Republican-led Legislature and backed by DeSantis. It expands Florida’s anti-discrimination laws to prohibit schools and companies from leveling guilt or blame to students and employees based on race or sex, taking aim at lessons over issues like “white privilege” by creating new protections for students and workers, including that a person should not be instructed to “feel guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” due to their race, color, sex or national origin.
In August a federal judge blocked Florida from enforcing a key aspect of the law that restricts what Gov. Ron DeSantis calls “woke” workplace trainings about race.
The ACLU, ACLU of Florida and Legal Defense Fund have filed another lawsuit in federal court challenging the “anti-woke” legislation on behalf of students and educators.
Michael Barfield is a paralegal consultant focusing on the enforcement of open government laws. He is an expert and frequent lecturer on Florida’s Public Records Act and Sunshine Law. Michael served as former President of the ACLU of Florida. He is a life member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and received the President’s Extra Mile award in 2008 for work related to indigent criminal defense. Michael is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section and the State and Local Government Section, serving on the Racial Justice & Diversity Committee, Electronic Communications Committee, and the Appellate & Habeas Practice Committee. Michael lives in Sarasota, Florida, and was recognized by Sarasota Magazine as one of the 25 most influential individuals in his community.
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