Randy Fine: (Again.) Hatred Of Free Speech.

This post came out of our research into the ridiculous bill Representative Randy Fine is proposing that would lower legal governmental notices and thereby lowering the transparency within governments and governmental entities.

In looking at the bills Fine has proposed this year, we caught a glimpse of this little dandy called HB 741 – a bill on “anti-semitism.”

The bill is an amendment to Florida Statute 775.085 Evidencing Prejudice While Committing Offense

The statute is basically a hate crime law, the first section of which reads:

The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified as provided in this subsection if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age of the victim: (emphasis ours)

Fine wants to add the following language:

3. “Religion” includes, but is not limited to, anti-Semitism. For purposes of this section, the term “anti-Semitism” includes all of the following:

a. Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a Jewish or non-Jewish individual or his or her property or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.

b. Examples of anti-Semitism include:
(I) Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
(II) Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective, including allegations such as the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government, or other societal institutions.
(III) Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the State of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
(IV) Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
(V) Accusing Jewish citizens of countries other than Israel of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

c. Examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:
(I) Demonizing Israel by using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel, Israelis, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, or blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions.
(II) Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
(III) Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.

However, criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism toward any other country may not be regarded as anti-Semitic.

Instead of trying to protect all religions and all beliefs, Fine singles out Judaism for protection that is well above that of all other belief systems.

Even worse, he makes thoughts toward another country an aggravating factor.

In short, if you are in a bar and discussing politics and the country of Israel and a fight breaks out, you can be charged with a hate crime.

How is that fair or just? How is it that Fine wants to protect Jews and Israel but not Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or other religions and their country of origin?

Anti-semitism is a loathsome thing, but it doesn’t deserve a greater penalty than attacks on other belief systems.

In point of fact, while trying to fit anti-semitic behavior into a legal box, Fine shows that he is, a bigot and prejudiced.

The bill also amends Florida Statute 1000.05 Discrimination Against Students and Employees in the Florida K-20 Public Education System Prohibited; Equality of Access Required.

Once again, discrimination on the basis of “religion” is against the law.

(1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Educational Equity Act.”
(2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.
(b) The criteria for admission to a program or course shall not have the effect of restricting access by persons of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status.
(c) All public K-20 education classes shall be available to all students without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status; however, this is not intended to eliminate the provision of programs designed to meet the needs of students with limited proficiency in English, gifted students, or students with disabilities or programs tailored to students with specialized talents or skills.

Fine’s bill amends this section as well which in some cases would mean that student groups would be denied funding and meeting spaces because they may not agree with Fine and his view of what is acceptable.

Instead of allowing for discussion and debate, Fine would rather shut people up and move anti-semitic thoughts to dark corners instead of the light where they can be laid bare.

Such are the tyrannical acts of a religious bigot to not codify acts of religious bigotry for all religions and instead deal with only one religion and one country.

In short, Fine is no friend of the Constitution. He wants to ban or criminalize speech with which he disagrees. Instead of treating all people the same, he singles out one religion and one nation for his brand of “thought protection.”

Fine is having a busy legislative season.

He is proposing a ban on plastic straws.

Such bans have been shown to not be based on science, but apparently that doesn’t matter.

To address the problems caused by plastic pollution, it’s better to target its improper disposal than plastic itself. Most of the plastic waste in the oceans comes from countries that don’t have good systems for putting trash in landfills. Around 90% of the plastic in the oceans comes from just 10 rivers: eight are in Asia and two are in Africa. So banning plastic here in America will have little measurable effect on pollution worldwide.

But this well-intentioned campaign assumes that single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee stirrers, have much to do with ocean pollution. And that assumption is based on some highly dubious data. Activists and news media often claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, for example, which sounds awful. But the source of this figure turns out to be a survey conducted by a 9-year-old. Similarly, two Australian scientists estimate that there are up to 8.3 billion plastic straws scattered on global coastlines. Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed into the sea, they’d account for about 0.03 percent of the 8 million metric tons of plastics estimated to enter the oceans in a given year.

In other words, skipping a plastic straw in your next Bahama mama may feel conscientious, but it won’t make a dent in the garbage patch. So what will?

A recent survey by scientists affiliated with Ocean Cleanup, a group developing technologies to reduce ocean plastic, offers one answer. Using surface samples and aerial surveys, the group determined that at least 46 percent of the plastic in the garbage patch by weight comes from a single product: fishing nets. Other fishing gear makes up a good chunk of the rest.

The impact of this junk goes well beyond pollution. Ghost gear, as it’s sometimes called, goes on fishing long after it’s been abandoned, to the great detriment of marine habitats. In 2013, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimated that lost and abandoned crab pots take in 1.25 million blue crabs each year.

This is a complicated problem. But since the early 1990s, there’s been widespread agreement on at least one solution: a system to mark commercial fishing gear, so that the person or company buying it can be held accountable when it’s abandoned. Combined with better onshore facilities to dispose of such gear — ideally by recycling — and penalties for dumping at sea, such a system could go a long way toward reducing marine waste. Countries belonging to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization have even agreed on guidelines for the process.

We have to wonder why Fine would worry about straws and not worry about the pollution from fishing nets and gear. We wonder if that concern is based upon the fishing industry having more political clout than a small restaurant owner looking to provide his customers with a service.

(If straws are an issue, why aren’t we making it a crime to leave straws on the beach or thrown in the water? Isn’t it better to penalize those who actually contribute to pollution than to penalize those who do not?)

Of course, this all of this follows Fine’s (lack of) commitment to the gun bill he helped write and pass last year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Just weeks after state legislators passed a sweeping package of school safety and gun control changes following the Parkland shooting, a state representative who voted for the bill says he wants to remove its gun control provisions should he be re-elected.

In a town hall hosted by Florida Today Wednesday, Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, said he plans to file bills to remove some of the gun control provisions from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act — including a three-day waiting period, higher minimum age to buy firearms from a dealer and a ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks.

Fine said at the town hall that he supported the bill’s increased money for mental health services and school safety, as well as a guardian program that would allow staff in schools to be armed, given required training. But he said legislators “did three things as part of this that wouldn’t have stopped the Parkland shooting and I don’t think accomplish much of anything,” according to Florida Today. “I don’t think those things solve anything and, frankly to me, they were silly.”

The value of a man is based on his word and in the above, we see that Fine’s word is something that people cannot count on.

He recently did the same thing in a call to close UCF after a series of incidents where money was misspent.

Today’s dumb distraction comes to us courtesy of Brevard County Republican Rep. Randy Fine — who has proposed shutting down the University of Central Florida for five or 10 years.

Sure, the school is the second-largest in America. It has 66,000 students. And such a move would make any parent re-think ever sending their kid to any public university in Florida down the road.

But Fine didn’t seem to care. During a House committee meeting Tuesday, he announced: “I’m working on a five- and 10-year potential shutdown of the university.”

Why? Fine is furious the school spent money meant for educational salaries on an educational building.

He says it’s “inexcusable” for government officials to use money earmarked for one thing on something else … even though that is precisely what Fine and his legislative buddies do each and every year.

Last year alone, they stole $180 million from the state’s affordable housing trust fund — tax dollars collected specifically to help put roofs over people’s heads — and used the money to help balance their general budget.

The Legislature has done that for 11 straight years.

If UCF should be shut down for five years for this one violation, the Legislature should be shut down for 55.

OK, so maybe there are things to like about this plan.

After Fine made his threats — and people all over the state asked if he’d lost his flippin’ mind — Fine backpedaled, telling the Sentinel’s Annie Martin he was just kidding.

Except, of course, he wasn’t kidding.

The more we look at Fine, what he does, and what he believes, the more concerned that we are that man is best that Republicans could come up with.

Fine plays the political game as well as anyone. He looks to grab media headlines. He looks to build alliances that are at the expense of the people of Brevard County.

We can, and should do better.

Maybe – just maybe – he should be more concerned with getting his home in the district which he lives fixed rather than living elsewhere than making ridiculous remarks and proposing bigoted laws.

4 Responses to “Randy Fine: (Again.) Hatred Of Free Speech.”

  1. Thomas L Gaume says:

    In reference to the first topic in this multi-topic post, Fine’s amendment to HB-741 (anti-Semitism).

    I have to wonder if they teach the US Constitution at Harvard, or did he miss the class where they talked about separation of Church and State?

    This amendment not only is an assault on the First Amendment, but obviously tears down the wall between Church and State that Jefferson spoke of in his letter to the Danbury Baptist.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.” – Thomas Jefferson 1802.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Thomas Gaume,

      The Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptists has always been misconstrued to the extent that it has been used to keep individuals and their religious beliefs out of government and public life instead of it’s intended purpose of preventing the government from founding or endorsing one religion over another.

      Endorsing one religion over another is exactly what Fine is doing here and it is wrong on every possible level.

      Fine has no right or business to protect his beliefs over all others. He has no right or business making comments about a certain religion or foreign country an enhancement to a hate crime.

      Either we protect all religions or we protect none.

      As we stated, anti-semitism is loathsome and horrific, but once again, we are going to go back to the Supreme Court case of Matal v. Tam in which the justices wrote:

      [The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”

      In the same case, Justice Kennedy wrote:

      A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination,” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.

      Apparently Fine has never heard of or read the Constitution.

      A. Afterwit.

      • ThirdDemension says:

        I agree with, and concur with A. Afterwit about Fines intent. Penalty enhancement, a political crime against any anti-semitism?
        I think it was line 172, makes it a crime, to say the Holocaust didn’t happen.

  2. ThirdDemension says:

    First, a huge thanks to ROH for laying out most of Fine’s RINO ways. Look them up.
    -HB 141
    $50 million for the river.
    One it is matching funds, means Brevard must come up with $50 million first. Where is the other counties money? It fines the municipalities for spills, which means the taxpayers will pay in higher bills.
    It will fix nothing. Allows a city like Palm Bay to apply for sewer money to provide new lines out to the Compound, nowhere near the Indian River Lagoon.

    -HB 2947
    $500,000 for a Holocaust Memorial in the Capitol? WHAT?

    -HB 2291
    $150,000 for Brevard Easter seals for five years up to $1,000,000

    and as ROH said HB 741 where saying anything against the Jewish community can be considered a crime, or a hate crime, and has penalty enhancements.
    Read the text, it is unbelievable. Speaking out against the Holocaust, say it never happened, will be a crime????

    I am a Constitutional Conservative.
    Randy Fine continues to prove he is at the other end of our political spectrum.
    RINO is stating it lightly.

    All one has to do is drive south to Broward, Palm Beach counties to see how many Jewish Democrats work against Conservatives. In fact, I have yet to meet a Conservative Jew. That is not anti-Semitic, it is purely a political recognition of statistics.