Legislature proposes penalizing college students who 'promote' Hamas or other designated foreign terrorist organizations

The bills would prevent students who promote such groups from being eligible for state grants, financial aid and tuition assistance and would require them to pay out-of-state tuition rates.

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  • | 3:45 p.m. November 15, 2023
The Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. Photo by Christopher Boswell/Adobe Stock
The Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. Photo by Christopher Boswell/Adobe Stock
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Senate and House Republicans on Wednesday filed identical bills that could financially penalize state university and college students who back “foreign terrorist” organizations, such as Hamas. 

Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, and Rep. John Temple, R-Wildwood, filed the proposals (SB 470 and HB 465) for consideration during the 2024 legislative session, which will start in January. 

The bills came after lawmakers during a special session last week took a series of steps to show support for Israel in its war with Hamas. 

It also came amid a nationwide debate about support on college campuses for Hamas, which triggered the war by attacking Israel on Oct. 7. The bills would seek to penalize any student who “promotes a foreign terrorist organization.” 

For example, the bills call for such students to be required to pay out-of-state tuition rates, which are higher than in-state rates. Also, the bills would prevent the students from being eligible for such things as state grants, financial aid or tuition assistance.

The bills provide a definition for foreign terrorist organizations that, in part, would apply to “Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad.” They do not define the word “promotes.”


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