No, Florida lawmakers did not dance 'after passing anti-trans' legislation

By: Ishita Goel
May 16 2023

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No, Florida lawmakers did not dance 'after passing anti-trans' legislation


The Verdict Misleading

The Florida lawmakers danced before the session began on May 2 on the occasion of "Boots Day," a themed day celebrated annually at the House.

Claim ID f57e42a4

A video of Florida lawmakers dancing on the State House floor is circulating on social media alongside claims they were celebrating after they "banned abortions, attacked trans people, destroyed immigrants rights, and cut back protections for union members and tenants." Between March 7 and May 5, 2023, Florida lawmakers met for a session of 60 days, during which they passed several bills during the session regarding abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ+ issues. One Instagram post of the video insinuated that the lawmakers were celebrating in reaction to the bills they had passed. "Me when I strip people of basic human rights," one user commented on the post, while another wrote, "The government literally emoting on its victims."

In Fact
Using the watermark from the viral video, we traced the video back to the Florida Channel, a television network operated by Florida State University's WFSU-TV and the Florida State Legislature. The clip was published on May 2, 2023, captioned "Capitol Update – Nightly During Session – Tuesday, May 02, 2023." At the 13:08 mark, we can see the viral footage of the lawmakers dancing. The Florida Channel reported that the dancing was to mark "Boots Day," a themed day celebrated yearly, where lawmakers wear boots to the session.

Similarly, on May 2, 2023, Florida's Voice tweeted the viral video with the caption, "HAPPENING NOW: Florida lawmakers dance on House floor." In the video, the timestamp shows 11:08 a.m. On verifying the time on the Florida Channel website, we found that on May 2, the House session began at 11:27 a.m., 20 mins after the dance. 

State Representative Anna Eskamani told PolitiFact that on May 2 (Boots Day), the House first danced to "Cha Cha Slide" and then "Cupid Shuffle." Eskamani also said that music is often played on the State House floor before the legislative session begins; for example, the Star Wars anthem was played on May 4. "Three minutes later, it was over. That was it," Eskamani told PolitiFact about the dance on May 2. "It wasn't after a vote. It wasn’t in the context of a vote. It was literally before the gavel even started things," she added.

The Democrats were not dancing with Republicans after "attacking trans people." The short-lived dancing happened on May 2, while the Facility Requirements Based on Sex bill was passed on May 3. This bill prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms and changing areas in State and local government buildings, schools, colleges, and detention centers that don't align with their gender identity at birth. However, the video does not show the lawmakers celebrating the passing of legislation.

Logically Facts has reached out to Eskamani and other House Representatives seen in the video. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.

The Verdict
The State House of Representatives celebrated Boots Day on May 2, 2023. To mark this, the Florida lawmakers danced briefly before the session for the day began. It had nothing to do with the bills on that day's agenda or any of those passed another day, nor did it relate to any votes. Therefore, we mark this claim as misleading. 

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