TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Senate passed a slate of legislation including the expansion of hurricane relief and resilience efforts due to Hurricane Idalia’s impacts, and a resolution supporting the State of Israel.
In advance of the 2024 Legislative Session, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) said, “Given recent events including the horrific attacks against Israel in the Middle East and devastation to the Big Bend caused by Hurricane Idalia here at home, there were several issues that warranted our attention in advance of the Regular Session.”
For hurricane relief and resilience, a relief package will include programs benefitting homeowners and businesses, investment in no-interest loans, and cost-sharing programs for agricultural and timber industries.
Another bill will expand eligibility for school choice scholarships. Families have until Dec. 15, 2023, to apply for scholarships this school year.
Building on 2023 legislation, the bill will provide enhanced security to assist nonprofits at risk for hate crimes. The bill appropriates $45 million for security efforts in Jewish temples, schools, and nonprofit entities at risk for hate crimes.
Another strong resolution is support for the State of Israel to exist as an independent nation with the right to defend itself. They will also have the right to protect their citizens from violence and terrorism, and to end support for any entity that publicly supports the Israeli attacks.
The final bill passed will strengthen existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran and other regimes that support terrorism.
“I appreciate the strong partnership with Governor DeSantis and Speaker Renner in bringing these issues forward for consideration during a special session,” Passidomo added. “Unlike the dysfunction we so often see in Washington, when challenges come our way here in Florida, our Governor, Cabinet, and Legislature work together.”