The Jacksonville City Council waited months to come up with any legal response to recurrent anti-semitic displays during high-profile events, and on Tuesday they nearly ran out of time for their expected internal battle over dueling bills that covered the same ground.
Two versions of the same legislation banning displays being projected onto buildings were expected to be under “emergency” consideration. However, long discussions of various zoning issues proved to dominate the seven hours scheduled for the meeting, pushing back the emergency bills to the end of the meeting.
With the bills being taken up at 11:26 p.m., the Council had to suspend a rule ordering a hard stop at midnight, which it did via voice vote. That was the easy part, with internal fissures on the Council dominating the discussion thereafter.
Both pieces of legislation proposed fines of $2,000, up to six months in jail time, and seizure of equipment from those malefactors found guilty of projecting such displays onto private buildings.
Concerned about constitutional challenges, the bills were framed as a “content neutral” defense of private property last week as they were being filed and drafted.
While all parties agreed on that, the real divide was in whether to