Controversy is brewing among conservative circles after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took a trip to Israel on Thursday to greenlight a new “Public Nuisances” bill, HB 269, which gives law enforcement agencies more power to prosecute those who have been considered to engage in anti-semitism, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Political commentator and hip-hop artist An0maly spoke on DeSantis’ signing of the bill on his daily online show. According to his report, the Florida governor’s previous approval of HB 741, another piece of legislation that has been billed as an effort to combat anti-semitism, marked the first time a Florida governor has passed statewide legislation on foreign soil. Thus, HB 269 is now the second.
An0maly opined that these proposals are “hate-speech” bills and could potentially lead to violations of the First Amendment.
HB 741, which DeSantis signed into law in 2019, offers several definitions for what could constitute anti-semitism, including suggestions that Jewish people disproportionately control various powerful institutions.
Speaking just after the signing of HB 269, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Thursday that DeSantis is “a friend of Israel.”
Conservative journalist Laura Loomer posted about her disdain for the new legislation on Twitter, claiming that the bill includes provisions that allow for felony charges and prison time to be doled out to people who leaflet flyers that are deemed “offensive.”
JUST IN: .@GovRonDeSantis just signed HB 269 Into law while in Israel.
Just as I reported he would.HB269 criminalizes speech in Florida & makes leafleting “offensive” flyers punishable with a felony and 5 yrs in prison, along with other acts of constitutionally protected speech. https://t.co/d9MR2UQkAr pic.twitter.com/mC3QK8P48a
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) April 27, 2023
Meanwhile, political commentator Scott Greer wrote a Substack warning about what consequences he believes the bill could bring, nothing that a leftist district attorney could easily use the legislation to justify imprisoning political dissidents for long periods of time.
As Greer noted, the leftist Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood recently told CNN anchor Poppy Harlow that dropping off “hateful” papers which allegedly target a person’s religion will soon be a felony, adding that he and others are “really looking forward to this.”