Associated Press by Brendan Farrington
May 29, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis and the independently elected Florida Cabinet met in Israel on Wednesday, waving away complaints that the session violated open-government laws because it was held outside the state. They presented a proclamation of support for Israel and heard from Israelis on several issues important to Florida.
The Republican governor then signed a bill that prohibits anti-Semitism in Florida’s public schools and universities. The new law defines anti-Semitism as including “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” ″blaming Israel for all interreligious or political tensions,” or “requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
DeSantis called the meeting historic, but the open-government watchdog organization First Amendment Foundation and several news outlets sued in an effort to stop it, claiming it violated a state law that requires government meetings to be accessible to the public.
DeSantis didn’t acknowledge the lawsuit during the meeting, but quipped, “Since we’re in Jerusalem, we may actually get some interest in our Cabinet meetings for a change, which would be great.”