Gov. Ron DeSantis officially signed CS/CS/HB 741 Anti-Semitism into law Friday, following a ceremonial bill-signing Wednesday in Jerusalem.
Attorney General Ashley Moody, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, bill sponsor Rep. Randy Fine, Sen. Wilton Simpson, Rep. Chris Sprowls, Sen. Lauren Book, Rep. Chip LaMarca, Rep. Joseph Geller and FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz all joined the governor at the ceremonial bill-signing in Jerusalem.
CS/CS/HB 741 adds religion as a protected class with regard to discrimination against students and employees in Florida’s K-20 public education system. The bill requires a public K-20 educational institution to treat discrimination by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies motivated by anti-Semitism in an identical manner to discrimination motivated by race.
The bill also adds a definition of anti-Semitism similar to the definition adopted by the U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, providing that “anti-Semitism” is a certain perception of Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people, rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.
“I’m proud to sign this bill to make clear through a bipartisan effort that anti-Semitism has no place in our state and our educational institutions will not tolerate discrimination against the Jewish people,” said DeSantis. “I was especially proud to hold a ceremonial bill signing in Jerusalem. Florida is the most Israel-friendly state in the country and as long as I’m governor, we will continue to stand with the Jewish community.”
Fine added, “In a time where open anti-Semites are celebrated in some corners of Washington, I am proud that Florida has chosen to move in a different direction and tackle this scourge head-on with ground-breaking legislation. By requiring that Florida’s public education systems treat anti-Semitism the same way as they treat racism, we send an unambiguous message that Jewish children will be protected from those who would discriminate against or maliciously target them. On behalf of my two sons, as well as hundreds of thousands of other Jewish children, I thank Gov. DeSantis for his leadership today.”
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters said, “The rise of anti-Semitism and the recent attacks against Jewish Americans throughout our country are appalling and unacceptable. By signing this bill into law, Florida is sending a clear message that anti-Semitism and discrimination will not be tolerated or overlooked. I thank the governor and the members of the Legislature for taking decisive action to address this issue head on.”