More details emerge as Florida lawmakers set special session for early November

by | Oct 21, 2023

  • A special legislative session in Florida is scheduled from Monday, November 6 to Thursday, November 9, addressing a broad range of issues.
  • The session will focus on hurricane relief, insurance costs, educational funding for students with unique abilities, and international matters such as expressing support for Israel and imposing sanctions on terrorist regimes.
  • The session follows Governor Ron DeSantis’s proposal to increase sanctions against Iran and has expanded its scope to include a range of domestic concerns in addition to foreign policy issues.

A joint memo released by Florida House Speaker Paul Renner and Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo announced a special legislative session from Monday, November 6 to Thursday, November 9. The session will tackle a wide range of issues, including hurricane relief, insurance costs, educational funding for students with unique abilities, and delicate foreign policy matters.

The special session comes in coordination with the Governor’s Office and will focus on providing additional resources for Floridians recovering from Hurricane Idalia, particularly in agriculture and debris removal. It will also address the existing backlog in the My Safe Florida Home Program, aimed at fortifying homes and lowering insurance premiums.

Another highlight will be the expansion of funding for the Family Empowerment Scholarship for students with disabilities. On the international front, the Legislature plans to formally express support for Israel and impose additional sanctions on terrorist regimes including Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

The special session will further allocate additional security resources and infrastructure to institutions at risk of anti-Semitic violence and hate crimes, such as vulnerable Jewish Day Schools.

The special session follows closely on the heels of an announcement by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who confirmed via spokesperson Jeremy Redfern that the session would focus on increasing sanctions against Iran. DeSantis had proposed the idea ten days prior, and it was subsequently backed by GOP leaders in both the House and Senate.

While DeSantis had initially proposed broadening sanctions against Iran, the special session appears to have expanded its scope to include a variety of domestic issues. House Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell criticized the governor’s call for the special session, accusing him of using the legislative process to boost his presidential campaign.

Florida has previously imposed sanctions against Iran through the Protecting Florida’s Investments Act (PFIA). Under this act, companies engaged in certain prohibited operations within Iran are designated as “Scrutinized Companies” and face specific restrictions. This includes activities within sectors like petroleum, energy, and military support.

The sanctions extend to the State Board of Administration’s investment activities, preventing it from investing in U.S. institutions or companies conducting business with Iran. Governor DeSantis had stated that the proposed sanctions would be the strongest by any state and would only be lifted when both the U.S. President and Congress certify Iran’s cessation of support for international terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

The forthcoming special session aims to build on these existing measures, while also addressing several domestic issues of concern to Floridians. The Legislature is scheduled to convene in Tallahassee on Monday, November 6.


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