Ron DeSantis’ ‘Stop Woke Act’ stalled again, law can’t be enforced
WASHINGTON — Florida remains unable to enforce its “Stop Woke Act” pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after a federal appeals court ruled against removing a temporary freeze in the legislation.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year issued a preliminary injunction temporarily barring the state from enforcing the law at colleges and universities. The State of Florida appealed the injunction and requested a stay, which would allow the state to continue enforcing the law until the appeal is resolved. Both requests were denied on Thursday.
Tallahassee U.S. District Judge Mark Walker blocked enforcement of the law in November after ruling it was unconstitutional, arguing it violated the First and 14th Amendments as well as the Equal Protection Clause. Walker issued a similar ruling in August, blocking the law from taking effect in businesses. The law remains intact for K-12 schools.
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“Our teachers are essential to a healthy democracy, and the State of Florida’s decision to choose which viewpoints are worth illuminating and which should remain in the shadows has implications for all of us,” Walker wrote in the November order. “But the First Amendment does not allow the state of Florida to muzzle its college professors, impose its own orthodoxy of views, and throw us all in the dark.”
What is the “Stop WOKE Act”?
The Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, also known as the Personal Liberty Act, is legislation that restricts how race is discussed in Florida schools, colleges, and workplaces. The state legislature approved the measure last March and it was signed into law by DeSantis in April.
By law, schools and universities are prohibited from teaching that could make a student feel personally responsible for historical wrongs because of their race, color, sex or of his national origin. Companies are also banned from diversity practices or training that could make an employee feel the same way.
The law sparked a national debate about censorship, diversity training, and critical race theory, which examines the role that racial discrimination has played in shaping American history and modern society.
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The state still faces several lawsuits, which took place almost immediately after the bill was passed, but no hearings have been scheduled.