Assailed by Muslim groups and quashed by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, an "anti-Sharia" law bill died in the Florida Legislature on Friday.
Senate Bill 1360 would have restricted state courts from considering foreign laws in most cases. Authored by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, the bill was identical to HB 1209, whicheasily passed the House 92-24.
But Hays' bill became ensnared in a late-breaking political controversy when proponents distributed fliers and a pamphlet decrying the alleged intrusion of Islamic law into America's courts.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations and another Muslim group, United Voices for America, condemned the leaflets, as well as the legislation -- even though the bill did not specifically reference Sharia or any religious law.
A delegation of Muslim and other religious leaders met with Haridopolos' chief of staff earlier in the week to demand that Hays' measure be postponed pending an investigation of the fliers.
Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, made no public statement about the controversy, but refused to call the bill for a vote in the waning hours of the 2012 session Friday.
David Yerushalmi, author of similar legislation being considered in other states and a defender of Hays' bill, deferred comment on the situation pending the close of the session.
"The people's representatives will do their job as they deem appropriate. If it passes, good. If not, there's always next legislative session with a new freshman class," said Yerushalmi, who is legal counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy and author of "American Laws for American Courts."
Hays, who was not immediately available to comment, distributed the pamphlet entitled "Shari'ah Law: Radical Islam's Threat to the U.S. Constitution."
Earlier, he said of his opponents: "Do these people not understand the foundation of our Constitution and freedom of speech? Where have they been?"
Contact Kenric Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 559-4719.