What Does Florida House Bill 7 Say?

by Mark-Elliot Finley, Exodus Contributor


A lot of discussion surrounds Florida’s new House Bill 7, otherwise known as the Individual Freedom Act. The Individual Freedom Act addresses civil rights in employment and K-20 education, along with required instruction in K-12 classes. In this blog, we will track the bill’s journey to legislation, what is meant by civil rights for employees and students, and what required instruction will be added to the Florida K-12 public school curriculum.

House Bill 7’s Journey
House Bill 7 was first filed in the Florida House of Representatives on January 11th 2022. For any bill to be enacted into law, each house (Senate and House of Representatives) must have at least a 2/3 majority vote. After deliberations, the bill passed in the House of Representatives on February 24th with 74 Yeas and 41 Nays. It was sent to the Senate on February 28th, and after more edits, the bill passed in the Senate on March 10th with 24 Yeas and 15 Nays.
After passing in the legislative branch, the bill was sent to Governor Ron DeSantis and his officers. Governor DeSantis signed the Individual Freedom Act into law on April 22nd, taking effect on July 1st. For more information on how an idea becomes a law, check out this graphic. Now that we know how the bill came to be, let’s look into the actual components of the bill.

Civil Rights in Employment and in K-20 Education
There are many aspects to the Individual Freedom Act, so we will break it down into two parts: 1) issues of civil rights for employees and students and 2) required instruction in K-12 schools. The Individual Freedom Act states that neither employees nor students must be subjected to lessons promoting or advancing beliefs deemed discriminatory as a qualification for employment or academic study. For example, teachers and employers cannot teach one sex, race, or nationality is better than another, individuals are inherently racist, sexist, oppressive, privileged, or oppressed or that certain individuals deserve more respect than other due to their skin color, sex, nationality, etc.
While this is not an exhaustive list, the Individual Freedom Act does address issues such as these to further promote the fundamental truth that all persons are equal before the law, having inalienable rights. While employers and public educational institutions cannot promote the problematic views listed in the previous paragraph, the bill allows discussion of these topics, if done objectively, with no intent to advance these views onto employees or students.

Required Instruction
The Individual Freedom Act also introduces additional instruction to be carried out in public K-12 schools. The “Stories of Inspiration” is a new curriculum initiative with which students will be taught American stories of individuals who prospered in difficult situations and overcame their struggles. Schools must also include instruction on African-American and Holocaust history, which encourages “tolerance of diversity…nurturing and protecting [of] democratic values and institutions.”
Instruction will also include a character development curriculum, along with mental and emotional health education, appropriate in content for intended grade levels. These initiatives are meant to build up confidence and help students overcome adversity.

State laws can be confusing, but if you decide to investigate Florida House Bill 7 further, hopefully you will have a little more understanding! If you would like to read more on the bill, see the following references:

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