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'Victims of Communism Day' bill backed in Florida Senate

Florida Senate
Florida Senate

The Senate Education Committee approved a measure Tuesday that would recognize “Victims of Communism Day” as a legal holiday on Nov. 7 each year.

The measure (SB 268) also would require high school students enrolled in U.S. government courses to receive at least 45 minutes of instruction “on the topics related to the communist regimes and how victims have suffered” under those governments, bill sponsor Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, said.

The curriculum would be added to government courses in the 2023-2024 school year. The measure was approved in a 7-1 vote, with Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, casting the lone vote against it.

“I think ... if you asked a high school student, they would know what communism is if they’ve gone through our public high schools. So I’m not really 100% sure that we need to be legislating and micromanaging to this point,” Berman said.

During this spring’s legislative session, lawmakers passed a measure (HB 5) that revised social-studies requirements for high-school graduation to include in U.S. government courses “a comparative discussion of political ideologies” like communism and totalitarianism. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill in June. Diaz’s bill is filed for the 2022 legislative session, which will start in January.

He argued that communism has “fallen off the front page” when it comes to the public’s awareness of the ideology. Diaz added that communism has been “romanticized by certain groups” in recent years, which he said represents a danger to impressionable young people. “

In my experience, I’ve had conversations with high school students and find that there is much confusion when it comes to systems of government and economic systems across the world, and vast confusion when it comes to socialism and communism,” Diaz said.

Alabama, Utah and Virginia recognize Nov. 7 as “Victims of Communism Memorial Day,” and 10 others are considering similar proposals, according to a Senate staff analysis of the bill.

News Service of Florida