Florida Governor Signs New State Sanctions on Iran and Grants to Combat Hate Crimes at Nonprofits
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a move aimed at addressing national security concerns and protecting vulnerable communities, Florida’s governor has signed into law new state sanctions on Iran and allocated funds to prevent hate crimes at nonprofits. The legislation received overwhelming support from the Legislature during last week’s special session.
The newly enacted laws prohibit local governments in Florida from entering into contracts with Iran and require the state to divest from any businesses connected to Iranian industries. The foreign nation was singled out due to its association with Hamas militants, a group known for its involvement in acts of terrorism.
Additionally, the state has allocated a substantial $45 million to enhance security measures at Florida nonprofits that are at a heightened risk of hate crimes. Of particular concern are Jewish day schools and temples, which have faced escalating threats in recent times.
State Representative Randy Fine, a Republican from Palm Bay, played a pivotal role in advocating for the House version of the legislation. He firmly believes that the grant program will significantly contribute to safeguarding Jewish communities, as tensions continue to escalate.
“This initiative is not about depriving children of educational opportunities in essential subjects such as reading, science, or math,” Fine emphasized. “Rather, it aims to protect people from the lurking dangers that surround us. I hope it brings peace of mind to the Jewish families who are currently living in fear.”
Apart from the measures mentioned above, Governor DeSantis also signed two other bills into law. The first provides over $400 million for Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts, while the second replenishes a grant program designed to fortify homes against severe weather conditions. Furthermore, state lawmakers agreed to reallocate funds to expand access to Florida’s new universal school voucher program, enabling more students to benefit from it.
However, not all legislators were content with the outcome. State Representative Angie Nixon, a Democrat from Jacksonville, expressed her disappointment, believing that lawmakers missed an opportunity to advocate for peace in the Middle East. Nixon highlighted the approval of resolutions supporting Israel’s defense during the mid-week floor sessions but questioned the omission of similar support for Palestinians and Muslims.
“What harm is there in advocating for the well-being, prosperity, and safety of Palestinians and Muslims?” Nixon questioned. “I fail to comprehend the problem here.”
During the House floor debate, Nixon presented a resolution calling for a ceasefire, her impassioned plea accompanied by tears. Regrettably, the resolution was overwhelmingly defeated, receiving only two votes, one of which was Nixon’s. Nevertheless, the determined Democrat remains steadfast in her conviction.
“It is disheartening to witness the disregard for basic human empathy,” Nixon lamented. “Frankly, it is both distressing and appalling.”
With the governor’s signature, each of the four bills has now become effective, ushering in a new era of state sanctions on Iran, enhanced security measures at nonprofits, hurricane recovery assistance, and expanded educational opportunities for Florida students.