Lawmakers pass bill prohibiting anti-Semitism in Florida public schools


Days after a gunman opened fire in a California synagogue, killing one and wounding three, the Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill Monday prohibiting anti-Semitism in public schools and universities.

The legislation, or HB 741, which requires that discrimination against Jewish people be treated equal to acts of racial discrimination in schools, will now be sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign into law.

"Anti-Semitism is on the rise and we have the ability to do something about it," Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, told the Florida Senate, noting how the accused California shooter is 19 years old, around the age of high school and college students. He said he hopes the legislation would prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in Florida schools.

"Anne Frank once said, 'What is done cannot be undone, but one can help prevent it from happening again,'" Gruters continued, quoting from the diary of a Jewish teenager who was killed in the Holocaust.

Included in the bill is an extensive definition of anti-Semitism, such as dehumanizing or stereotypical allegations about Jewish individuals. Also included in the bill's definition of hate is calling for the harm or murder of a Jewish person, criticizing the collective power of the community and accusations against Jewish people claiming the Holocaust wasn't real.

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