Florida Democrats Hopeful for United Front on New Antisemitism Bill

Florida Democrats Hopeful for United Front on New Antisemitism Bill

Following differing liberal views on a new bill defining and protecting against antisemitism, Florida Dems push for a united front

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
January 9, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL --- House Democrats hope for a united front on a new bill defining and protecting against antisemitism. Just yesterday, dissension within the party caused concerns that the bill may be weaponized against Palestinian supporters.

"It's already been through its two committees, it's ready for the floor," HB 187 sponsor Democrat Rep. Mike Gottlieb told The Floridian after Tuesday's State of the State Address, "I don't see there being any issue with passing it, especially when you heard both the Speaker and the Governor today addressing the importance of an alliance with Israel, and as I said yesterday, tamping down antisemitism in the state of Florida."

HB 187 adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and would enforce stricter penalties for hate crime offenders.

In Monday's House Judiciary Committee, fellow Democrat Rep. Dotie Joseph expressed anxieties that the IHRA's definition codified into law was too broad. She worried it would result in a breach on free speech, and thus be used to target critics of Israel and supporters of Palestine. She was the only "no" vote in committee.

After the Governor's State of the State Address Tuesday morning, Democrat Rep. Fentrice Driskell stood strong on a united Democratic front.

"Our caucus is not quite like the Republicans in that people have their own minds, they're able to vote their own ways," Rep. Driskell told The Floridian, "But I do think you've seen that the majority support the bill, and I think it's fair to say that everyone in our caucus does stand against antisemitism,"

"The ways in which we do that may differ, but we are unified in that front." added Rep. Driskell referencing her own differing position during Florida's special session in November, in which she drafted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Her resolution failed, earning only two "yea" votes from the body of 120 representatives.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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