Lawmakers open Special Session on Israel, vouchers, hurricane recovery

Tallahassee, FL, USA - February 11, 2022: Florida State Capitol
'We have a robust relief package that will impact families, businesses and the entire community across Florida’s Big Bend in a meaningful way.'

Florida legislators convened a Special Session Monday to show support for Israel after the devastating attack on civilians by Hamas on Oct. 7 which left 1,400 dead and 240 people taken as hostages.

Urged by Gov. Ron DeSantis, lawmakers are poised to pass a bill (SB 10C/HB 5C) putting more businesses on the state’s blacklist that it won’t contract or invest in because the companies do business with Iran, which supports Hamas, or other terrorism-supporting states.

Another bill (SB 6C/HB 7C) will provide $35 million for security at Jewish schools and synagogues throughout the state in the face of increased threats and incidents of antisemitism.

There will also be legislation to boost disaster recovery programs for homeowners and businesses in the Panhandle affected by Hurricane Idalia earlier this year.

The bill (SB 2C/HB 1C) will provide $417 million in hurricane recovery funds, including $176.2 million to address a backlog in the My Safe Florida Home program, which gives matching grants to homeowners who harden their homes to prevent or mitigate damage during a destructive storm.

“We have a robust relief package that will impact families, businesses and the entire community across Florida’s Big Bend in a meaningful way,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, at the outset of the Session.

Legislation to address another backlog in the voucher program for special needs students will be prepped and passed during the Special Session as well. The bill (SB 4C/HB 3C) will remove the cap on vouchers eligible for special needs students for the current school year.

While the bills are likely to pass with overwhelming majorities from both parties, Democrats chided Republican leaders for not using the Special Session to lower premiums for homeowners, which have faced large increases in recent years as insurance companies hiked prices.

“Here we go again. A Special Session is called, but it seems that the pressing concerns of the people of Florida are being overlooked,” said Rep. Patricia Williams, a Pompano Beach Democrat, in a released statement.

“We’re presented with a list of five bills to discuss, yet conspicuously absent is any mention of the property insurance crisis that’s worsening right here in our state. The absence of a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to addressing this crisis during the upcoming Special Session is a glaring oversight.”

Gray Rohrer


3 comments

  • Michael K

    November 6, 2023 at 11:15 am

    What a coincidence! Just in time for the third Republican debate!

    • M. Mouse

      November 6, 2023 at 12:59 pm

      Oh! The mystery of it all! Squeak!

      • Julia

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Comments are closed.


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