Special Session proposal has $35M security boost for places ‘at high risk for violent attacks’

Randy Fine Titusville 1
'Jewish families are scared.'

Another $35 million from the state could be appropriated to increase security at places facing “high risk for violent attacks” — namely, the Jewish community — according to legislation Republican Rep. Randy Fine has filed.

The bill (HB 7C) has already been noticed for a Monday hearing in the House Appropriations Committee meeting as a Special Session begins, Fine said.

The surprise Oct. 7 attack on Jewish civilians by Hamas and Israeli bombing in Gaza makes enhanced security for the Jewish community a must, said Fine, who is the only Jewish Republican in the Legislature.

“Jewish families are scared,” Fine said. “We have the greatest outpouring of open antisemitism happening in this country in anyone’s lifetime,” said Fine, who represents south Brevard County. “They are not only open (about showing) antisemitism, they are proud of it. It’s the responsibility of the government to keep people safe.”

The biggest chunk of the appropriation — $20 million of it — would go through the Florida Department of Education in grants to Jewish day schools and Jewish preschools. It would pay for hiring and training security personnel along with training in threat awareness, emergency procedures and first aid for other school staff.

It comes on top of $9 million in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget that boosted safety, including $5 million for security upgrades at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg and $4 million to hire full-time guards to protect Jewish day schools.

Fine, who has recently broken with DeSantis’ campaign for President and endorsed Donald Trump, said he’s received much support from House Speaker Paul Renner in this effort.

“Generally Special Session bills are collaborations, and the Speaker has been extraordinarily supportive,” Fine said. “Frankly, if every non-Jew was as supportive as Paul Renner, we wouldn’t need this money at all.”

The bill would go into effect upon signing.

It would also:

— Distribute $10 million from general revenues to the Division of Emergency Management, which would then establish the Nonprofit Security Grant Program and give out grants.

— Allocate $5 million for building improvements that would boost security at Jewish day schools and Jewish preschools.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • My Take

    November 2, 2023 at 10:23 pm

    Are Jews the only people being threatened now in this state?
    Blacks, the traditional victims are now home free?

Comments are closed.


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