Governor Crist Signs Bill Removing Terms From Lawbooks
TALLAHASSEE Governor Charlie Crist today signed Senate Bill 813, removing the terms "shylock" and "shylocking" from Florida's laws about unlawful moneylending. The terms were introduced into Florida statutes during the 1969 legislative session.
"Today I am proud to sign legislation that honors Florida's Jewish community by removing harmful language from Florida's criminal moneylending laws," Governor Crist said. "Harmful terms that communicate hate have no place in our society and especially not in our laws and the removal of this language is long overdue."
The term "shylock" was originally coined in the late 16th Century, based on a character in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In the play, the Jewish moneylender Shylock demands a "pound of flesh" be cut from the bodies of individuals who owe him money. The term is considered discriminatory, anti-Semitic language.
Sponsored by Representative Elaine Schwartz and Senator Eleanor Sobel, the legislation was unanimously approved by both the House and the Senate. Rabbi Schneur Oirechman of Chabad of Tallahassee also attended the bill signing ceremony.