DeSantis to Call Session on Iran Sanctions

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to call a special legislative session to bolster state sanctions against Iran, as he and lawmakers continue taking steps to show support for Israel during the war with Hamas.

DeSantis’ office Friday confirmed the decision to hold a special session but did not provide details about a date or what will be proposed. It also was unclear whether other unrelated issues could be added to the special session.

“I can confirm that the strongest sanctions against Iran by any state in the nation, as proposed by Governor DeSantis, will be part of an upcoming special session,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a prepared statement. “The details, including the date and scope, are being worked out between legislative leadership and our office. We look forward to working with the Legislature to show Florida’s continued support for Israel.”

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Iran supports Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that began the war Oct. 7 by attacking Israel. DeSantis, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, called Oct. 10 for increased state sanctions.

Florida already lists Iran as a “foreign country of concern,” along with China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria. Since 2008, Florida has prohibited state agencies and local governments from contracting for goods and services of more than $1 million with any business that has contracts with the Iranian government.

In addition, a state law passed this spring placed land-ownership restrictions on people from Iran and the other foreign countries of concern. Also, the federal government has imposed numerous sanctions on Iran.

Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, issued a statement Friday tying the planned special session to DeSantis’ presidential bid.

“This looks like yet another case of Ron DeSantis using the Legislature to try to help his failing presidential campaign,” Driskell said. “We will be watching closely to make sure Floridians’ tax dollars aren’t wasted trying to impress out-of-state GOP primary voters. DeSantis’ policy failures at home have left Floridians paying the most for homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and rent in the country. I think Floridians would prefer their governor spend as much time addressing these pocketbook issues here as he spends on his ambitions.”

While a date has not been released for the special session, one possibility would be to hold it in conjunction with upcoming legislative committee meetings. Lawmakers will hold such meetings the weeks of Nov. 6, Nov. 13, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers gathered Wednesday in the Capitol to show support for Israel

“We know the Iranian regime funds Hamas and assists other terror groups,” said House Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican who indicated after the event that lawmakers might hold a special session to increase sanctions.

DeSantis also has taken other steps since the Hamas attack, including declaring a state of emergency that helped clear the way for Florida to help fly Americans back home.

— News Service senior writer Dara Kam contributed to this report.

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