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Overview

Florida lawmakers have passed multiple bills and resolutions targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights. Florida has an anti-boycott law (SB 86) in effect that prohibits state contracts with and state investment in companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. While the law initially applied only to state contracts worth $1 million or more, a subsequent amendment (HB 545) eliminated that monetary threshold.

Florida also has two antisemitism redefinition laws in effect. Both laws incorporate a distorted definition of antisemitism that conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish hatred—the first (HB 741) calls for the definition to be applied in addressing discrimination claims in public educational institutions; the second (HB 1213) calls for its use in teaching Holocaust studies. Florida lawmakers also have passed several resolutions that denounce BDS campaigns for Palestinian rights and conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism.

State Legislation

Legislation
HB 741
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
May 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 741 

HB 741 is an antisemitism redefinition law that directs public K-20 educational institutions to apply a distorted definition of antisemitism when addressing discrimination claims. The definition includes the following as examples of antisemitism related to Israel: “[d]emonizing Israel,” “[a]pplying a double standard to Israel,” including by “focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel,” or “[d]elegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” 

The governor signed the bill while on a trip to Israel. When the bill was first introduced, it included hate crimes enhancements based on the distorted definition, but later versions deleted that language. Related Bills: SB 1272, HB 839, HB 371.

Legislation
HB 1213
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
July 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 1213 

HB 1213 is an antisemitism redefinition law that incorporates by reference the distorted IHRA definition and its contemporary examples from the state’s 2019 antisemitism redefinition law, HB 741 (s. 1000.05(7)), for teaching Holocaust studies. The definition and its contemporary examples conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. The law requires school districts to certify annually and provide evidence that the law’s requirements are met and calls for the Department of Education to create standards and curriculum. Related bills: SB 1628.

Legislation
SB 86
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
March 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read SB 86 

This anti-boycott law prohibits state contracts with and state investment in companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel or persons or entities doing business in Israel or territories it occupies. The law requires the creation of a blacklist of companies engaged in prohibited boycotts. Public funds are prohibited from investing in blacklisted entities. State agencies and local governing authorities may not enter into contracts worth $1,000,000 or more with blacklisted companies. Contractors must provide written certification that they are not engaging in prohibited boycotts. The penalty for false certification is the greater of $2 million or twice the amount of the contract in addition to a 3-year ban on bidding. Related Bills: HB 527, HB 199.

Legislation
HB 545
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
March 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HB 545 

This anti-boycott law amends the state’s previous anti-boycott law (SB 86) to eliminate the $1 million threshold and prohibits state contracts for any amount with companies that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The amendments extend the written certification requirements to contracts in any amount. Related bill: SB 780.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 963
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2014
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, Defunding
Full Text
Read HB 963 

This anti-boycott defunding bill penalizes public postsecondary education institutions that use state aid to fund or provide funds for membership in or travel to meetings of academic entities that engage in or support academic boycotts. Schools that violate the prohibition are not eligible to receive state funds during the academic year in which the violation occurred. The bill was introduced in response to resolutions by the Asian American Studies Association and American Studies Association endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s human rights violations.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 527
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
February 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 527 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with and state investment in companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel or persons or entities doing business in Israel or territories it occupies. The bill requires the State Board of Administration to create a blacklist of companies engaged in prohibited boycotts. The state’s System Trust Fund is prohibited from investing public retirement funds in blacklisted entities. State agencies and local governing authorities may not enter into contracts worth $1,000,000 or more with blacklisted companies. Contractors must provide written certification that they are not engaging in prohibited boycotts. The penalty for false certification is the greater of $2 million or twice the amount of the contract in addition to a 3-year ban on bidding. Related Bills: HB 199, SB 86 (passed).

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 780
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
February 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read SB 780 

This anti-boycott bill amends the state’s previous anti-boycott law (SB 86) to eliminate the $1 million threshold and prohibits state contracts for any amount with companies that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The amendments extend the written certification requirements to contracts in any amount. A companion bill (HB 545) passed. 

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 433
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
March 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 433 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state investments in companies that boycott Israel or companies based in Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies that engage in such boycotts and requires the Florida Retirement System to divest direct holdings from blacklisted companies. The bill is primarily aimed at foreign companies, noting that the state board should consider the legislature’s intent not to “cause divestiture from any company based in the United States” when developing the blacklist.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 199
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
December 2015
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 199 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with businesses that engage in certain boycotts. Contractors must provide a written certification that they are not and will not engage in a boycott of “any person or entity that is based in, or doing business with, a jurisdiction with which the state enjoys open trade.” The bill provides exceptions for bids at least 20% less than other bids and excludes contracts worth less than $10,000. Because HB 199 excludes boycotts based on the specific conduct of a targeted entity and those applied in a nondiscriminatory manner, boycotts for justice fall outside its scope. The bill was withdrawn prior to introduction, but a companion bill (SB 86) passed. Related bills: HB 527, SB 86.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 1628
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
March 2020
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 1628 

SB 1628 is an antisemitism redefinition bill that incorporates by reference the distorted IHRA definition and its contemporary examples from HB 741 (s. 1000.05(7)) for teaching Holocaust studies. The law requires school districts to certify annually and provide evidence that the law’s requirements are met and calls for the Department of Education to create standards and curriculum. Related bills: HB 1213

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 371
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 371 

HB 371 is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs public K-20 educational institutions to apply a distorted definition of antisemitism when addressing discrimination claims. The definition includes the following as examples of antisemitism: “[a]pplying double standards to the State of Israel by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation,” “work of a multilateral organization investigating Israel for peace or human rights violations, and “[d]enying the Jewish people their right to self determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” Related Bills: HB 741, SB 1272, HB 839.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SB 1272
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read SB 1272 

SB 1272 is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs public K-20 educational institutions to apply a distorted definition of antisemitism when addressing discrimination claims. The definition includes the following as examples of antisemitism related to Israel: “[d]emonizing Israel,” “[a]pplying a double standard to Israel,” including by “focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel,” or “[d]elegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” Related Bills: HB 741, HB 371, HB 839.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 839
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2019
Type(s)
Antisemitism Redefinition
Full Text
Read HB 839 

HB 839 is an antisemitism redefinition bill that directs public postsecondary educational institutions to apply a distorted definition of antisemitism when addressing discrimination claims. The definition includes the following as examples of antisemitism related to Israel: “[d]emonizing Israel,” “[a]pplying a double standard to Israel,” including by “focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel,” or “[d]elegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” The introduced version of the bill did not include the definition; it was introduced and adopted as a subsequent amendment to the bill. The bill also requires the Florida College System to annually assess intellectual freedom and “viewpoint diversity.” Related Bills: HB 371, HB 741, SB 1272.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 987
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
May 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott
Full Text
Read HB 987 

HB 987 is an anti-boycott bill related to vacation rentals and specifically targeted AirBnB following the company’s decision to delist certain rental properties located in illegal Israeli settlements. The bill preempts local regulations of vacation rentals; a subsequent amendment prevents vacation rentals on the state’s anti-boycott blacklist from benefiting from the bill. Florida had added AirBnB to its blacklist of entities prohibited from benefiting from state investment over the company’s settlement delisting decision. AirBnB reversed its delisting decision in April 2019 and was removed from Florida’s blacklist.

Resolutions

Legislation
SR 1184
Status
Passed
Date Passed
February 2016
Full Text
Read SR 1184 

This non-binding resolution condemns BDS. The resolution falsely links BDS campaigns on college campuses with an increase in discrimination against Jewish students. The resolution further urges the President to allow goods made in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be labeled as “Made in Israel.” Related legislation: HR 1001.

Legislation
SR 894
Status
Passed
Date Passed
April 2014
Full Text
Read SR 894 

This non-binding resolution opposes the academic boycott of Israeli universities and was introduced following resolutions by the Asian American Studies Association and American Studies Association in 2013 endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s human rights violations.

Legislation
HR 1001
Status
Passed
Date Passed
March 2016
Full Text
Read HR 1001 

This non-binding resolution condemns BDS and falsely claims that boycotts for Palestinian rights foster discrimination against Jewish students. Related legislation: SR 1184.

Legislation
SR 574
Status
Passed
Date Passed
April 2017
Full Text
Read SR 574 

This non-binding resolution targets efforts to seek accountability via the United Nations for Israel’s ongoing violations of international law. It calls for the rejection of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 for contributing to BDS efforts and for trying to “extract concessions from Israel.” UN Security Council Resolution 2334 reaffirmed that Israel’s illegal settlements constitute a flagrant violation of international law. The US broke from its practice of blocking UN accountability measures focused on Israel and abstained rather than vetoing the resolution, causing consternation among pro-Israel groups. Related legislation: HR 281.

Legislation
HR 281
Status
Passed
Date Passed
March 2017
Full Text
Read HR 281 

This non-binding resolution targets efforts to seek accountability via the United Nations for Israel’s ongoing violations of international law. It calls for the rejection of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 for contributing to BDS efforts and for trying to “extract concessions from Israel.” UN Security Council Resolution 2334 reaffirmed that Israel’s illegal settlements constitute a flagrant violation of international law. The US broke from its practice of blocking UN accountability measures focused on Israel and abstained rather than vetoing the resolution, causing consternation among pro-Israel groups. Related legislation: SR 574.

Local Legislation

Legislation
Ordinance 15-585
Locality
Bal Harbour Village
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
November 2015
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read Ordinance 15-585 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits Bal Harbour from contracting with businesses unless they provide a written certification that they are not and will not engage in a boycott of persons or entities based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with which the United States enjoys open trade. Because contract prohibitions only apply to boycotts undertaken on a discriminatory basis, they would not apply to boycotts for Palestinian rights. The bill passed unanimously. 

Legislation
R7C-2018
Locality
Bal Harbour Village
Status
Passed
Date Passed
December 2018
Full Text
Read R7C-2018 

This non-binding resolution condemns AirBnB’s decision to delist certain rental properties located in illegal Israeli settlements. AirBnB reversed its delisting decision in April 2019.

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