Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Florida House Approves Four Bills on Special Session Agenda

The Florida House passed a series of measures to help Floridians recover from Hurricane Idalia, ensure every child has the educational resources they need, divest public funds from scrutinized companies and refuse to do business with those who support terrorist regimes, provide additional protection for students in Jewish Day Schools, and stand in support of the State of Israel.

“In two months, we’ll convene the 2024 Legislative Session and take on many issues which are important to Florida families. But some things, like education, public safety, and affordability, just can’t wait,” said Republican Speaker Paul Renner, of Palm Coast. “Today, we delivered on promises made to offer scholarships for students with unique abilities on the 2023-2024 wait list, provide relief for those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, ensure the safety of students at Florida’s Jewish Day Schools and ease the justifiable fears of their parents, and stand with Israel by refusing to do business with the government of Iran and others who support and fund terrorism.”

House Bill 1C, Disaster Relief by Republican Representative Jason Shoaf, of Port St. Joe, provides additional resources to assist Floridians recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Idalia, including tax relief on motor fuel used for agricultural shipments and debris removal and on materials used to repair or replace nonresidential farm buildings and fencing. The bill also addresses the existing backlog of My Safe Florida Home applications by allocating $176.2 million to the program, allowing Floridians to fortify their homes and lower their insurance premiums.

“I was honored to sponsor this bill which provides needed relief to those hit hardest by Hurricane Idalia, many of whom are my constituents. The bill funds several programs that assist in local recovery efforts and expands the My Safe Florida Home program so that Floridians can reinforce their homes to mitigate future storm damage,” said Representative Shoaf.

House Bill 3C, Family Empowerment Scholarship Program by Representative Josie Tomkow, a Polk City Republican, revises the statutory cap for the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program for Students with Unique Abilities so that eligible students can access the educational resources they need to reach their full potential.

“With a record number of Florida families choosing to utilize the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program for Students with Unique Abilities, it was necessary to revise the cap and make good on our promise that children with unique abilities would have access to the resources needed for academic success,” said Representative Tomkow.

House Bill 5C, Scrutinized Companies by Representative John Snyder, of Stuart, directs the State Board of Administration to divest public funds from companies on the Scrutinized Companies with Activities in Iran Terrorism Sectors List that do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The bill demonstrates Florida’s refusal to do business with those who support terrorist regimes.

“We are using every financial tool at our disposal to increase pressure on the Iranian regime in an effort to reduce global terrorism and hold them accountable for the atrocities they’ve committed. Those who support terrorism will not be allowed to contract with the state of Florida or be a part of our investment portfolio,” said Representative Snyder.

House Bill 7C, Security Grants by Representative Randy Fine, a Brevard Republican, provides at-risk institutions, such as vulnerable Jewish Day Schools, with additional security resources and infrastructure to keep Florida students and citizens safe.

“As a child, I remember watching grainy old videos of Germans marching through the streets calling for the extermination of Jews,” said Representative Fine. “I never imagined my own children would see the same kind of marches, in 2023, in Florida. Since October 7th, we have learned that for much of the world, the Holocaust was not a historical event, but an ongoing goal. Jewish children and their families deserve to be safe in their schools, synagogues, and cultural centers. So today, thanks to the leadership of Speaker Paul Renner, the Florida House has allocated $45 million in emergency security funding for these and other entities at high risk for violent attacks or hate crimes. The Florida House stands with Florida’s Jews to reaffirm that ‘never again’ means never again.”

The House also passed two resolutions expressing support for the State of Israel and rejected a third referring to Israel as “Occupied Palestine”.

Florida House Democrats attempted to expand the Special Session to focus on more Florida problems, including legislation from Orlando and Tampa State Representatives, but Republicans rejected their attempts.

For more information on House Bills 1C, 3C, 5C, and 7C, visit the Florida House.

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