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Florida lawmakers pass Iran sanctions, hurricane relief bills in special session

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said in a news release that the legislation shows antisemitism will not be tolerated in the Sunshine State.

Published: November 9, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

(The Center Square) — The Florida Legislature wrapped up its special session after several new measures were passed, including sanctions on Iran, protections for the state’s Jewish community and relief funds for those affected by Hurricane Idalia.

Senate Resolution 8C, House Resolution 9C and HR 11C all would express support for the State of Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself against attacks from terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The resolutions passed unanimously.

The move came after Hamas launched over 7,000 rockets into Israel from Gaza and killed 1,400 Israelis with rockets and a series of brazen attacks with 200 people taken hostage. Israel has officially declared war as a result.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said in a news release that the legislation shows antisemitism will not be tolerated in the Sunshine State.

"Since the day he took office, Governor DeSantis has been steadfast in supporting Israel and making certain our state has the toughest possible sanctions against Iran and other regimes that support terrorism," Passidomo said. "His continuous leadership makes it clear that Florida will not tolerate antisemitism or hatred of any kind and will provide security for our Jewish community."

HB 5C would revise provisions, if signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, for companies that have business dealings with Iran and the terrorist groups it supports such as Hezbollah and Hamas. These companies will be banned from operating in Florida. The bill passed unanimously in the state Senate and got two objections in the House.

Vulnerable communities could receive further funds for protection through HB 7C, which expands the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The program includes funds for protecting Jewish day schools, places of worship, museums and community centers that are at high risk of hate crimes.

Florida lawmakers also passed HB 1C, which would provide $416 million in disaster relief for the Big Bend region of Florida, recently hit by Hurricane Idalia. The My Safe Florida Home Program, an initiative that provides roof hardening, will receive an additional $176.17 million. Climbing insurance rates were not addressed during this session.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship Program would increase the amount of students eligible to receive funding, thanks to HB 3C. Students living with disabilities will have the opportunity to apply for funding for educational expenses. The bill expands scholarship numbers by 3% in the 2024-2025 school year.

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