Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1262
       By Senator Bracy
       11-01689-20                                           20201262__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots;
    3         creating s. 16.63, F.S.; establishing the Ocoee
    4         Election Day Riots Descendant Compensation Fund
    5         Program within the Department of Legal Affairs;
    6         specifying the purpose of the program; requiring the
    7         department to accept and process applications for
    8         payment of claims for compensation; requiring the
    9         department to provide certain notice of the program;
   10         specifying procedures and requirements regarding
   11         applications for compensation; requiring the
   12         department to approve applications for payment if
   13         certain conditions are met, subject to certain
   14         limitations; providing for contingent repeal; amending
   15         s. 288.7102, F.S.; requiring the Department of
   16         Economic Opportunity to prioritize certain
   17         applications for the Black Business Loan Program;
   18         directing the Commissioner of Education’s African
   19         American History Task Force to determine ways in which
   20         the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots may be included in
   21         required instruction on African-American history;
   22         requiring the task force to submit recommendations to
   23         the commissioner and the State Board of Education by a
   24         specified date; directing the Secretary of State to
   25         take certain action regarding the inclusion of the
   26         history of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots in museum
   27         exhibits; directing the Secretary of Environmental
   28         Protection to assess naming opportunities for state
   29         parks, or a portion of a facility therein, in
   30         recognizing victims of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day
   31         Riots; authorizing the secretary to appoint a
   32         committee to assist in assessing naming opportunities;
   33         requiring the secretary to submit recommendations to
   34         the Legislature under specified circumstances;
   35         encouraging district school boards to assess naming
   36         opportunities for school facilities in recognizing
   37         victims of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots;
   38         providing effective dates.
   40         WHEREAS, in the decades following the conclusion of
   41  Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws were enacted throughout the
   42  southern United States, including Florida, which mandated
   43  segregation and imposed numerous restrictions, such as the
   44  imposition of poll taxes and literacy requirements, thereby
   45  suppressing the ability of African Americans to participate in
   46  the democratic process, and
   47         WHEREAS, throughout the country, organizations such as the
   48  Ku Klux Klan staged rallies, marches, and other demonstrations
   49  in an effort to intimidate African Americans and any allies from
   50  organizing and attempting to exercise the right to vote, and
   51         WHEREAS, as the 1920 presidential election approached,
   52  efforts were undertaken in Orange County by numerous
   53  organizations and individuals, including Judge John M. Cheney
   54  and two prominent African-American residents of Ocoee, Julius
   55  “July” Perry and Moses Norman, to register African-American
   56  voters to allow for their participation in the upcoming
   57  election, and
   58         WHEREAS, on November 2, 1920, as several African Americans
   59  in Ocoee, including Moses Norman, unsuccessfully attempted to
   60  vote on Election Day, violence ensued as a mob of approximately
   61  100 white men formed and marched to Julius “July” Perry’s
   62  residence, and proceeded to open gunfire as Julius “July” Perry
   63  attempted to defend himself along with his property and family,
   64  and
   65         WHEREAS, after the Perry family eventually fled the
   66  residence, Julius “July” Perry was soon arrested and
   67  subsequently shot and lynched after the mob gained access to his
   68  jail cell with the aid of local law enforcement, and
   69         WHEREAS, the violence spread throughout the African
   70  American community of Ocoee and upwards of 60 people are
   71  estimated to have perished while dozens of homes, two churches,
   72  and a lodge meeting hall were set ablaze and gunfire overtook
   73  the community, and
   74         WHEREAS, in the aftermath of the riots, nearly all African
   75  American residents of the community were forced to flee,
   76  abandoning their residences and property and relocating
   77  elsewhere, and
   78         WHEREAS, there is no record that state or local government
   79  officials took any action to prevent the tragedy that occurred
   80  in Ocoee, or reasonably investigated the matter in the riot’s
   81  aftermath in an effort to bring the perpetrators of the incident
   82  to justice or to allow the displaced African-American residents
   83  to return to their homes and property, and
   84         WHEREAS, in November 2018, the Ocoee City Commission
   85  adopted a proclamation that acknowledged the acts of domestic
   86  terror inflicted upon the African-American residents of Ocoee
   87  and western Orange County on November 2, 1920, and required the
   88  installation of a historical marker in a public space describing
   89  the events of that day, and
   90         WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature recognizes an obligation
   91  to redress the injuries, damages, infringement of civil rights,
   92  and loss of life that African-American residents sustained as a
   93  result of the violence and destruction that occurred in Ocoee in
   94  November 1920, NOW, THEREFORE,
   96  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   98         Section 1. If SB ___ or similar legislation establishing
   99  the Ocoee Election Day Riots Descendant Compensation Trust Fund
  100  is adopted in the 2020 Regular Session or an extension thereof,
  101  section 16.63, Florida Statutes, is created to read:
  102         16.63 Ocoee Election Day Riots Descendant Compensation Fund
  103  Program.—
  104         (1) The Ocoee Election Day Riots Descendant Compensation
  105  Fund Program is established in the Department of Legal Affairs.
  106  The purpose of the program is to compensate direct descendants
  107  of individuals who were killed, injured, or otherwise victimized
  108  by the violence that took place at Ocoee, Florida, on November
  109  2, 1920.
  110         (2) The Department of Legal Affairs shall accept and
  111  process applications for payment of claims for compensation
  112  pursuant to this section. The department shall provide
  113  reasonable notice of the availability of compensation, including
  114  through Internet postings on the department’s website.
  115         (3) A claim for compensation must be on forms approved by
  116  the department and must include all of the following:
  117         (a) The name and contact information of an applicant who is
  118  submitting a claim for compensation.
  119         (b) The name of the victim who was killed, injured, or
  120  otherwise victimized as a result of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day
  121  Riots for whom the applicant is seeking compensation on behalf
  122  of.
  123         (c) Reasonable proof establishing the applicant’s lineage
  124  to an individual who was killed, injured, or otherwise
  125  victimized as a result of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots,
  126  including, but not limited to, census records.
  127         (d) A statement that the applicant affirms that he or she
  128  agrees not to seek a claim bill regarding the underlying
  129  incident from the Legislature.
  130         (4) Upon receipt and verification of a valid claim of
  131  compensation, the department shall approve such application for
  132  payment. The amount of compensation awarded may not exceed
  133  $150,000 per individual who was killed, injured, or otherwise
  134  victimized by the violence that took place at Ocoee. If multiple
  135  descendants of a single individual apply for compensation on
  136  behalf of that individual, the amount of compensation shall be
  137  prorated among any eligible claimants. A descendant may not
  138  receive compensation for more than one individual.
  139         (5) This section is repealed July 1, 2024, unless the Ocoee
  140  Election Day Riots Descendant Compensation Trust Fund
  141  established pursuant to s. 16.631 is re-created by such date.
  142         Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 288.7102, Florida
  143  Statutes, is amended to read:
  144         288.7102 Black Business Loan Program.—
  145         (2) The department shall establish an application and
  146  annual certification process for entities seeking funds to
  147  participate in providing loans, loan guarantees, or investments
  148  in black business enterprises pursuant to the Florida Black
  149  Business Investment Act. The department shall process all
  150  applications and recertifications submitted by June 1 on or
  151  before July 31. The department shall prioritize any applications
  152  for black business enterprises in areas directly impacted by the
  153  1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots so long as such entities meet the
  154  other requirements established in this section.
  155         Section 3. The Commissioner of Education’s African American
  156  History Task Force is directed to examine ways in which the
  157  history of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots may be included in
  158  instruction on African-American history required pursuant to s.
  159  1003.42(2)(h), Florida Statutes. The task force shall submit its
  160  recommendations to the Commissioner of Education and the State
  161  Board of Education by March 1, 2021.
  162         Section 4. The Secretary of State is directed to:
  163         (1) In coordination with the Division of Cultural Affairs
  164  of the Department of State, determine ways in which the Museum
  165  of Florida History and other state museums may promote the
  166  history of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots through exhibits
  167  and educational programs.
  168         (2) Collaborate with the National Museum of African
  169  American History and Culture of the Smithsonian Institution to
  170  seek inclusion of the history of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day
  171  Riots in the museum’s exhibits.
  172         Section 5. The Secretary of Environmental Protection is
  173  directed to assess if any state park, or a portion of or a
  174  facility therein, may be named in recognition of any victim of
  175  the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots. The secretary may appoint a
  176  committee to assess naming opportunities. If a change to state
  177  law is required in order to change the designation of a state
  178  park, or a portion of or a facility therein, the secretary shall
  179  submit any such recommendation to the President of the Senate
  180  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  181         Section 6. District school boards are encouraged to assess
  182  naming opportunities for school facilities in recognition of
  183  victims of the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots.
  184         Section 7. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
  185  act, this act shall take effect July 1, 2020.