Floridians could soon observe Victims of Communism Day under a new bill filed in the Florida Senate, similar to a failed bill last Session.
Sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, the bill (SB 268) would designate Nov. 7 as Victims of Communism Day and require public school students to receive instruction on communist dictators.
“Communism has proved incompatible with the ideals of liberty, prosperity, and dignity of human life and has given rise to such infamous totalitarian dictators as Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot,” the measure reads.
Students must also learn of the experience of communism victims. The bill would require at least 45 minutes of instruction for students enrolled in a high school government course.
“Communist regimes worldwide have killed more than 100 million people and subjected countless others to exploitation and unspeakable atrocities, with victims representing many different ethnicities, creeds, and backgrounds,” the measure adds.
Notably, this isn’t Florida Republicans’ first crack at passing such legislation. Republican Rep. David Borrero sponsored similar legislation in the 2021 Legislative Session.
Lawmakers divided upon party lines over the measure. The measure died in the final days of Session.
Under the new bill, Victims of Communism Day would also be observed at the state Capitol.
“Many victims of communism were persecuted as political prisoners for speaking out against these regimes, and others were killed in genocidal state-sponsored purges of undesirable groups,” the bill states. “In addition to violating basic human rights, communist regimes have suppressed intellectual freedom, cultural life, and self-determination movements in more than 40 nations.”
According to the bill, the first communist government dates to 1917 in Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. Today, only five communist governments remain — Cuba, China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.
The 60-day Legislative Session begins on Jan. 11 and ends on March 11.
If signed into law, the measure would take effect immediately.
Schools would begin instruction in 2023.