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Governor DeSantis signs 'Stop WOKE Act,' special district bill into law

Stop WOKE Act signed
Posted at 3:26 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 23:15:52-04

HIALEAH GARDENS, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 7, also known as the "Stop WOKE Act" into law during a press conference on Friday in Hialeah Gardens.

"We believe in education, not indoctrination," DeSantis said at a news conference. "We believe an important component of freedom in the state of Florida is the freedom from having oppressive ideologies opposed upon you without your consent."

The law, which will go into effect on July 1, prohibits Florida’s public schools and private businesses from making people feel uncomfortable or guilty over their race, sex, or national origin.

"What we will not allow is to be taught that members of one race, color, national origin or sex are somehow morally superior," DeSantis said. "We are not gonna allow teaching that a person simply by virtue of his/her race, color, national origin or sex is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, that's wrong."

A number of Democrat leaders condemned the signing of HB7.

"This is a sad day in our state's history," Leader Designate Ramon Alexander (D-Tallahassee) said in part. "I truly believe this legislation furthers systematic racism as an attempt to erase and whitewash American history. It’s a delusional culture war GOP issue. And it dismantles the progress that has been made to create diversity and inclusion training in the workplace, and to teach our kids history."

In addition to the Stop WOKE Act, DeSantis also said he signed two other bills from a recent special session, including dissolving five special districts, one of which was the notable Reedy Creek Improvement District, the governing jurisdiction and special taxing district for the land of Walt Disney World Resort.


The bill states teachers would be able to talk about topics like sexism, racism, slavery, and racial segregation but they can’t persuade students to a particular point of view.

"We are not gonna use your tax dollars to teach our kids to hate this country or to hate each other," DeSantis said.

While the legislation doesn’t specifically mention Critical Race Theory, Governor Ron DeSantis said back in December the bill would keep it out of schools.

“Essentially what this piece of legislation would do is it would prohibit businesses and educational institutions from providing certain types of training or education for their employees or students that may for whatever reason make those employees or students feel uncomfortable,” Kelly Flannery, the President and CEO of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce said in March.

The legislation states it’s about individual freedom of what topics people are exposed to, and supporters say it will keep schools from imposing opinions on students.

DeSantis said this will also prevent hostile work environments, but some critics disagree and have concerns.

“If an employee were to say this training, or this education made me feel uncomfortable, they would then be able to actually sue their employer for providing this training,” said Flannery.