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Bill filed to create Florida Holocaust Memorial

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Coral Springs Rep. Jared Moskowitz filed a bill Monday to create a Florida Holocaust Memorial at the state Capitol in Tallahassee.

Moskowitz’s HB 513 would direct the Department of Management Services to receive recommendations from the Florida Historical Commission on where and how to build a memorial within the Capitol complex honoring the millions of victims of Nazi extermination and labor camps.

Moskowitz says the time to build a statehouse memorial is now.

“Soon, we’ll have no live witnesses,” said Moskowitz by telephone Monday.

The second-term Democrat said as Floridians who have direct experience with people affected by the Holocaust age and pass away, awareness of the World War II-era genocide may soon begin to fade. As antisemitic threats to Jews around the world continue to rise, Moskowitz said, the state has a responsibility to help preserve its lessons and memorialize its victims’ suffering.

“Right now, we see a lot of talk about taking down memorials that no longer represent the state,” said Moskowitz, referring to the ongoing fight over the presence of a Confederate flag in the seal of the state Senate.

“What better discussion to have than the look at what memorials do represent our values, and represent our constituents?”

Moskowitz says he sees broad support for pro-Israel and other Jewish-related causes, including state funding for security for the JCC’s annual Maccabi Games held in Boca Raton last year. He said he shepherded the line item through Appropriations with the help of Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran, a Republican, and doesn’t expect active opposition from GOP ranks.

With Tallahassee as divided as ever over redistricting, however, “it’s just a matter of, can we get it through the legislative process?” Moskowitz said.

For Moskowitz, however, hope springs eternal that a Legislature divided against itself can unite in order to pay homage to those killed in the Holocaust.

“When we can, let’s get together and agree on something,” Moskowitz said.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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