Getting rid of ‘shylock’ in Florida


The Florida Senate passed a law yesterday that would eliminate the term "shylock" from the state’s laws. The term had been part of statutes dealing with loan sharks. From the AP:

The Florida Senate has passed a bill deleting the word "shylock" from Florida statutes.

Shylock was the Jewish moneylender in Shakespeare’s 16th century play "Merchant of Venice," who sought a pound of flesh for an unpaid loan. The term is often used to define someone who loans money at exorbitant interest rates.

Florida statutes use the term as a synonym for loan shark and "shylocking" as a synonym for loan sharking.

The bill (SB 318) passed unanimously. The House has a similar proposal (HB 151).

The bill’s sponsor explained earlier this month to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel why the legislation was important:

State law uses "shylock" in a statute dealing with loan sharks, language that is "offensive to the Jewish people," said state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. Her bill (SB316) "fixes the mistake that has been left by history," she added.

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