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Chances fade for bill to block foreign law in Florida courts

A controversial bill that aims to keep foreign law from being used over Florida law in family courts is “effectively dead,” Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, chairman of the Senate’s Rules Committee, said after that body's meeting Thursday.

Democrats blocked an effort by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, to get the House bill through in the Senate by a 25-14 vote. Hays needed a two-thirds vote, or 27 votes, to substitute the House version (HB 351), which passed April 18 by a vote of 79-39.

Hays said the bill aims to make sure that American law trumps foreign law in marital law cases, but opponents have said the measure is rooted in anti-Shariah legislation and could also impact residents from Israel and other countries, and there haven't been any indications of problems with foreign law in Florida courts.

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