Top Line

The GOP-controlled Florida legislature held a new session Tuesday as they prepare to take up a series of controversial bills on topics such as immigration, LGBTQ rights, gun rights and press freedom, many of which are backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as he uses Florida politics as a launchpad for his 2024 presidential campaign.

important facts

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Gun Rights: HB 243 Will be allowed to carry concealed firearms without a license, which DeSantis has gave his support Back and said the legislation would be passed this year.

LGBTQ Rights: HB 1223 Last year’s controversial Parents’ Rights in Education law — known by critics as “Don’t Say Gay” — requires K-12 school employees to use pronouns only for a child’s biological sex and in class on gender identity. Restrictions on instructions need to be expanded. sexual orientation through eighth grade, while HB 1069 Requires students in grades 6-12 to be taught “sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth” and further restricts classroom instructional content.

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Higher education: HB 999 Would ban state universities from any programs or hiring practices related to “diversity, equity and inclusion,” outlaw any university major or minor in gender studies or related to it, review tenured professors, and state boards Would make it easier to give more power to governors, made up of DeSantis appointees.

Immigration: desantis is proposing Florida waves new restrictions on undocumented immigrants—and wants more Cancel Some previous state laws had actually expanded their rights – such as preventing undocumented immigrants from practicing law, receiving tuition waivers and issuing ID cards, as well as requiring employers to check the immigration status of employees. To expand the use of e-Verify system for

freedom of the press: HB 991 Suing media outlets for defamation to become easierlike by lowering the bar for what constitutes a public figure, treating anonymous quotes as false by default and saying that accusing someone of discrimination constitutes defamation – whereas SB 1316 require Bloggers who write about DeSantis or state government to register with state government.

Transgender Rights: sb 254 Prohibits gender-affirming care for minors under the age of 18, and makes it possible for parents to lose custody of their children if they “subject the child to the provision of sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures.” “

what to watch

The legislative session will last 60 days and end in early May, with DeSantis widely expected to launch his 2024 bid sometime after the session ends. The governor has promised that the legislative session will be "the most productive session we've ever had" to advance his administration's agenda ahead of his anticipated presidential campaign.

what we don't know

And which controversial bills can be filed. new York Times notes More legislation is likely to be filed later in the session, as this gives lawmakers more time to prepare bills and less time to debate them before being voted on. It is especially expected that Republican lawmakers could introduce new restrictions on abortion after the state enacts a 15-week ban, though it is still unclear how far such a ban would go. It still remains to be seen how many of the bills that have been introduced will actually pass, and not all of them have been explicitly endorsed by DeSantis, such as the ban on bloggers.

important quotes

"I haven't seen a governor in my lifetime with such absolute control of the agenda as Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee," said Florida lobbyist and DeSantis supporter Brian Ballard. Said Tampa Bay Times,

chief critic

Many of the bills proposed for Florida's legislative session have been widely criticized before the session has officially begun. American Association of University Professors has Condemned it higher education bill, saying it would "destroy academic freedom, tenure, shared governance and university independence in the state's public higher education system," for example, and the anti-gun violence organization Giffords Condemnation The permit-less carry bill is "dangerous legislation that will increase gun violence and further endanger the safety of our families and communities." Bobby Block, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation, Tallahassee Democrat About the defamation bill: "It's about intimidating free speech, silencing free speech and silencing critics."

tangent line

Another controversial bill that has been introduced but faces long odds of passage would completely eliminate the Democratic Party in Florida and force the state's 4.9 million registered Democrats to be unaffiliated or registered with a different party. would be required, by instructing state officials to eliminate any political party that "has previously advocated slavery or involuntary servitude, or been in support of it." State Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R), who introduced what he called the "Ultimate Cancel Act", said he drafted the bill without any involvement from DeSantis, and that the governor did not support the legislation. Is.

main background

The new legislative session adds to a string of controversial actions DeSantis and the Republican-controlled legislature have taken as the governor sought to institute so-called "anti-voke" policies that have often drawn criticism. For example, the state gained national attention for its "Don't Say Gay" bill, which sparked a battle with Disney that resulted in the governor punishing the company for opposing the policy and special districts controlling Walt Disney World. Appointed its own board to oversee. Disney World. Florida also banned class library and publicly rejected a proposed new AP African-American Studies curriculum for having a "political agenda", in addition to other controversial measures such as the state's 15-week abortion ban. Controversial policies have raised DeSantis' national political profile, and while he drew widespread criticism from the left, he won by a 19-point margin in November and is widely considered former President Donald Trump's primary opponent in the 2024 GOP primary. as seen. The start of the legislative session comes as DeSantis has been trying to make more of a name for himself nationally in the past few weeks, releasing a book that calls "Florida's blueprint for America's survival" and Construction appearances across the country.

In Florida legislative session, DeSantis has a chance to check off his wish list (new York Times)

DeSantis' unprecedented influence on Florida Legislature ahead of 2024 bid (Tampa Bay Times)

Florida bill would ban gender studies, limit trans pronouns, reduce term (Washington Post)

Republicans in Florida are trying to get rid of the Democratic Party (Forbes)

'Disaster for free speech': Florida defamation, libel bill alarms advocates (Tallahassee Democrat)