TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Sen. Jay Collins (R-Tampa) has filed a new Florida amendment that proposes a law to prohibit certain flags from being displayed by governmental agencies, local governments, and other units of local government.
The Confederate flag is included in the list of permitted flags, while the bill does not explicitly address LGBTQ+ flags.
Senate Bill 668 proposes the creation of a new section, 256.045, in the Florida Statutes, which would define the term “governmental entity” and restrict that only certain flags are displayed on public buildings and other public properties.
Under the proposed law, governmental entities and their officers and employees would only be allowed to display the following listed flags:
- United States flag
- State of Florida flag
- Flag of the Confederate states
- Flag of the United Nations
- POW-MIA flag
- Flags of foreign nations
- Flags that represent the branches of the United States Armed Forces and the Florida National Guard
- Flags of Florida’s counties, municipalities, public universities, and colleges
- Flag of the Olympics
- Flags indicating beach warnings
The proposed law would restrict the flags that can be displayed by governmental entities in and on public buildings and properties, but it does not ban the Confederate flag. The flag of the Confederate States is included in the list of flags that are permitted to be displayed by governmental entities and their officers and employees.
Confederate flags have been a source of controversy due to their association with slavery and racism. Many people see them as a symbol of hate and oppression, while others view them as a representation of Southern heritage and pride. The use and display of Confederate flags have been a topic of debate, and various states and organizations have taken steps to ban or limit their use.
The proposed law also does not specifically mention or prohibit the display of LGBTQ+ flags on government buildings. However, the exclusion of LGBTQ+ flags from the list of permissible flags has raised questions about the possibility of a ban on these flags under this law.
While some cities in Florida have passed ordinances protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, the state has also faced backlash for controversial legislation and policies that have been seen as discriminatory towards the LGBTQ+ community.
This means that if a governmental entity wants to display a flag that represents the LGBTQ+ community, such as the rainbow flag or the transgender flag, it would not be permitted under this law. On the other hand, the bill includes the Confederate flag on the list of permitted flags, allowing it to be displayed by governmental entities.
These restrictions however would not restrict a citizen’s right to display a flag in a traditional public forum.
It remains to be seen whether the law will be enacted, but it has been recommended by the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability and may be debated in the Florida Senate in the near future.
The law, if approved, would take effect on July 1, 2023.
©2023 Cox Media Group