TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis applauded the Florida Legislature for taking swift action to pass meaningful legislation that sanctions Iran and protects Jewish Day Schools in addition to providing aid for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Idalia and expanding Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarship for students with unique abilities. The Legislature also allocated $181.5 million to the My Safe Florida Home Program to help lower the costs of homeowners’ insurance for Floridians. The Legislature finished the special session in just three days.
“I applaud the Legislature for their fast work during this special session,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Divesting from any company that supports Iran and ensuring that students are able to attend Jewish Day Schools safely is of utmost importance. I am also thankful we have been able to provide relief for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Idalia, take steps to lower the costs of homeowners’ insurance and expand Florida’s nation leading school choice program to include any student with unique abilities. I look forward to signing this legislation.”
“With 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,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. “Since the day he took office, Governor DeSantis has been steadfast in supporting Israel and making certain our state has the toughest possible sanctions against Iran and other regimes that support terrorism. His continuous leadership makes it clear that Florida will not tolerate anti-Semitism or hatred of any kind and will provide security for our Jewish community. Unlike the dysfunction we so often see in Washington, when challenges come our way here in Florida, our Governor, Cabinet and Legislature work together.”
“In Florida, we don’t wait around to act,” said Speaker of the House Paul Renner. “Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ support, we conducted an efficient special session that delivered on a series of key promises. We provided additional funding for scholarships for families with students with unique abilities and additional relief for those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, eased the justifiable fears of parents with children in Jewish Day Schools and redoubled our efforts to stand with Israel by refusing to do business with the government of Iran and others who support and fund terrorism.”
The Legislature passed legislation, first proposed by the Governor, that will institute some of the harshest sanctions against Iran of any state in the nation. The legislation broadens the definition of a scrutinized company to include any company engaging in business operations with the government of Iran in the energy, petrochemical, financial, construction, manufacturing, textile, mining, metals, shipping, shipbuilding or port sectors. Additionally, this legislation will:
- Redesignate the Iran Petroleum List as the Scrutinized Companies with Activities in Iran Terrorism Sectors List.
- Require the State Board of Administration to divest holdings in the Florida Retirement System portfolio from companies that meet the broader definition of “scrutinized company.” In addition, any new investment in one of these companies will be prohibited.
- Prohibit a scrutinized company from contracting with an agency or local government entity.
To further protect Jewish Floridians, $45 million was appropriated to safeguard Jewish institutions like schools, synagogues and museums through the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Department of Education to provide grants for security measures.
The Legislature has also taken action to create and fund programs that will support individuals, agriculture and aquaculture businesses and local governments as they recover from Hurricane Idalia. The Legislature has appropriated a total of $417 million for disaster relief, including over $181 million for the My Safe Florida Home Program to provide mitigation inspections and grants for homeowners across the state to harden their homes against a hurricane. The bill also funds:
- $50 million for the Hurricane Recovery Grant Program.
- $30 million to provide local governments with the local match requirement to receive FEMA Public Assistance Funding.
- $25 million to fund the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program.
- $10 million for the Small County Outreach Program through the Department of Transportation to assist impacted counties with transportation projects.
- $5 million for the Rural Infrastructure Fund dedicated to counties impacted by Hurricane Idalia.
Additionally, the Legislature passed legislation expanding Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarship for students with unique abilities (FES-UA) to include any eligible student who applies for a scholarship by December 15. This expansion will eliminate the current waitlist for this school year.
This special session builds on action the Governor spearheaded in October to bring Americans in Israel back to the United States and protect Jewish citizens in Florida. To read more about those efforts, click here.