DeSantis, Florida Cabinet hold historic meeting in Israel
Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging meeting, claiming it violates Florida law
JERUSALEM – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of his Cabinet took part in an historic meeting Wednesday in Israel.
The meeting was held at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, one day after the First Amendment Foundation and several news outlets sued to stop it.
A judge dismissed the complaint, saying there was no indication the summons had been served.
Lawyers for the watchdog group and news organizations filed an emergency motion for reconsideration shortly thereafter.
They argue the meeting violates Florida's open-government laws, which require Cabinet meetings be accessible to the public.
"I believe most of what's on the agenda, as you've had access to with plenty of notice, is mostly ceremonial," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg. "We do have another Cabinet meeting coming up rather quickly upon our return, which we'll handle more formal business."
This is “pre-action” from @AGAshleyMoody - we spoke at the opening reception about the Cabinet meeting & threat of lawsuit just after landing in Tel Aviv Sunday⏩@WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/xCWASUucR5— Glenna Milberg (@GlennaWPLG) May 28, 2019
The meeting opened with the signing of a resolution expressing Florida's support of Israel. It was followed by discussions on terrorism, water quality and emergency management.
"There's probably going to be more people that watch it because we're in Jerusalem than would watch a normal Cabinet meeting, so we're actually expanding interest, I think," DeSantis said.
During the meeting, DeSantis signed Florida's anti-Semitism bill into law.
"Given what's going on in our country and in Europe, I think it was the right thing to do," he said.
The law forbids anti-Semitism in public schools, does not hamper free speech and uses the federal definition of anti-Semitism.
"However we would deal with someone who engaged in racist behavior, policies and proceedures -- that is how we will deal with anti-Semitism," State Rep. Randy Fine, who sponsored the bill, said.
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