The New Florida Law that Combats Acts of Hatred

We are thrilled, grateful and proud of the groundbreaking, bipartisan bill that Florida’s governor signed into state law.

During his visit to Israel, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Public Nuisance Act into law. This significantly increases the punishment for many hate crimes to a third-degree felony, helping to address Florida’s 42% increase in antisemitic incidents. Florida ranks #4 among all states for the most incidents targeting Jews in the country.

We applaud the governor for signing this historic law, the first of its kind and a model for other states. The law received extraordinary, bipartisan support, passing unanimously in the State Senate and House. We commend the bill’s sponsors: Rep. Mike Caruso (who conceptualized the bill), Rep. Vicki Lopez and Rep. Randy Fine in the House; Sen. Alexis Calatayud in the Senate; and Kenneth Marcus, Founder & Chairman of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, who provided invaluable constitutional law expertise.

Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) – including Lynn Peseckis, Chair, and Josephine Gon, Vice President – played a substantial leadership role in guiding the legislation from its beginnings:

  • Providing consultation and guidance to the legislation’s drafting
  • Traveling to Tallahassee and advocating to state lawmakers together with community partners, including Alpert Jewish Family Service
  • Participating in conversations with local civic leaders to garner support
  • Writing this letter to the governor, co-signed by 22 supporting Jewish organizations

It is a source of incredible pride for our local community that we have been an active player in this momentous effort from the beginning – reinforcing the Palm Beaches as a national center for Jewish life, innovation and leadership. This historic accomplishment is one for which we can all be truly proud.