Florida legislature calls special session to pass new sanctions on Iran, show support for Israel

The call comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to expand sanctions against Iran and after he helped bring home nearly 300 Americans stranded in Israel.

Published: October 22, 2023 11:25pm

(The Center Square) -

The Florida legislature has called a special legislative session to expand sanctions on Iran, express support for Israel and advance several legislative priorities.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner issued a joint proclamation on Friday outlining eight agenda items including prioritizing tax relief and other financial assistance related to damages resulting from Hurricane Idalia. Other items on the agenda include expanding funding for recovery efforts related to natural disasters and expanding school choice for students with special needs.

The call comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to expand sanctions against Iran and after he helped bring home nearly 300 Americans stranded in Israel after Israel was attacked by members of the terrorist organization Hamas.

The special session is slated to convene at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6 and to extend no later than 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9.

“Following the horrific atrocities committed by Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas against Israel, I am calling on the Florida Legislature to act swiftly to ensure our state does not send a penny to the Iranian terror state," DeSantis said. “I am glad to see the Legislature’s willingness to convene and address this along with other important issues for the state.”

Passidomo issued a memorandum and schedule related to the special session.

The first item on the agenda is hurricane relief. Nearly two months after Hurricane Idalia hit the Big Bend region of Florida, Passidomo said additional measures must be taken “to ensure a full recovery for impacted families, business, and communities.” This includes assisting the state’s agricultural industry and providing tax relief for families and businesses, agricultural and aquacultural producers, and local governments impacted by the hurricane.

The second issue is formally expressing support for Israel as a legislative body. This includes supporting the state of Israel’s right “to exist as a sovereign, independent nation, with the right to defend itself and protect its citizens from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.” It also includes formally condemning “the unprovoked and barbaric attacks by terrorist regimes, including Hamas, against Israel, its citizens, and Americans” and demanding “the immediate end to any financial support, whether directly or indirectly, to the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, or other entities that publicly support these attacks.”

The legislative plan includes expanding sanctions against terrorist regimes, including to strengthen “existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and other state and corporate sponsors of terror. We can, and we must, do everything within our authority as a state government to support Israel and condemn terror, hatred, and violence.”

The legislature also will look to implement additional “security infrastructure to guard against anti-Semitic violence” and hate crimes, according to her memorandum. “In recent years, we have increased state support for security at our Jewish Day Schools. With incidents of anti-Semitism on the rise, we need to make certain that entities at risk for hate crimes have the security resources and infrastructure they need.”

Other legislative priorities include allocating additional funding for “students with unique abilities,” expanding eligibility for school choice scholarships to all Florida students, and expanding on reforms to reduce property insurance costs.

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