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Senate Infrastructure and Security discusses resolution condemning hateful ideologies

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Resolution condemning philosophies of intolerance clears Senate panel

The resolution affirms that hateful ideologies are antithetical to Floridians’ values

A resolution condemning hateful ideologies easily passed the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee Monday, but it received mixed support from some members of the public.

The resolution is co-sponsored by Thonotosassa Republican Sen. Tom Lee and Miami Democratic Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez. Lee chairs the committee and presented the bill.

The legislation rejects any ideology or philosophy that advocates the superiority of one of group of people over another because of race, color, national origin, sex or religion as hateful, dangerous and morally corrupt expressions of intolerance. It further affirms that those philosophies don’t represent the values of Floridians or Americans. 

David Caulkett, vice president of Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, said they oppose the resolution.

“The resolution is racist, divisive, has no societal benefit, is a golden opportunity for liberals to smear those who advocate for immigration enforcement,” he said.

Lee said it combines two resolutions that were filed, one was specifically condemning white nationalism and one more broad into a bipartisan consensus bill.

Tampa Democrat Sen. Janet Cruz offered a last-minute amendment specifically condemning white nationalism and white supremacy and also rejects intolerance because gender identity and sexual orientation.   

Lee said he wouldn’t strenuously object to the amendment, but he was concerned that the additional language could affect its chance of garnering enough support.

“We made an effort to try to create a bipartisan approach here,” he said. “Everyone could sign off on it and agree to (it) and in doing so make sure that we weren’t just singling out one specific form of hate speech because we know that there are things going on with anti-Semitism in New York and incel groups in Tallahassee.”

A man who likened himself to a 2014 “incel” killer walked into a Tallahassee yoga studio in November 2018 and opened fire, killing two women and wounding four others and assaulting a man. Incels are men who blame women for their involuntary celibacy. 

Maura Binkley, 21, was one of the women killed in the Tallahassee attack. Her father Jeff Binkley said he’s encouraged by the direction lawmakers are taking on the resolution.

“The crime committed was determined to be one of hate,” he said. “The victims were selected and targeted for no other reason than being women.”

Cruz said she was asked by Rodriguez to introduce the amendment, but would withdraw the amendment and let him carry it into the next committee. Rodriguez was absent because his flight had been canceled.

Resolutions carry no weight of law and don’t require any action from the Governor.

Written By

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to sarah@floridapolitics.com.

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