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Financial Institutions Act is Passed by Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee

After many efforts led by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in conjunction with the Florida Association of Jewish Federations, the Financial Institutions Act was passed by the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. The bill (aka Senate Bill 792), sponsored by Senator Don Gaetz (R- Destin) and Representative Mack Bernard (D -West Palm Beach) is aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. It would also give the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) the authority to mandate that all Florida state-chartered banks certify that their corresponding banks are not engaged in proscribed activities with Iranian linked financial institutions. This bill becomes even more relevant today as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently issued a detailed report providing the agency’s confirmation that Iran is close to producing nuclear weapons.

More information on Senate Bill 792

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Representative Mack Bernard (D - West Palm Beach)

Senate President-Designate Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and Minority Leader Nan Rich (D-Sunrise) held a press conference in mid-December voicing their support for Senate Bill 792, Financial Institutions. Gaetz and Rich were joined by Representative Mack Bernard (D-West Palm Beach).

SB 792 is designed to ensure that financial institutions chartered in Florida establish reasonable due diligence policies designed to detect whether foreign financial institutions they do business with engage in certain activities facilitating the development of weapons of mass destruction by the Government of Iran, provides support for certain foreign terrorist organizations, or participates in other related activities.

“It is critically important that Iran ceases its nuclear weapons program,” said Senator Rich. “A nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to America and the world. This law would allow Florida to once again take the lead by attacking terrorism at its source.”

“It is of paramount importance that we do our part as a state to ensure that financial institutions chartered in Florida, are not in fact doing business with foreign financial institutions that are engaged in or are supportive of any kind of terrorist activity," said Gaetz. “I am proud to be joined today by a bi-partisan group of lawmakers, who believe as I do that this bill is in the best interest of our state and nation.”

SB 792 has a total of 27 co-sponsors in the Florida Senate and 24 co-sponsors in the Florida House, making this the most broadly supported bill in the legislature. More information on the bill can be found here.

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