As the Florida legislature winds down with one success after another for principled limited government constitutional conservative Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s agenda,
speculation about a potential campaign for President has begun to overshadow the conservative policy victories coming out of the Florida State House.
Eric Daugherty, Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the go-to resource on Florida politics Florida's Voice reported the popular Florida Governor deflected when asked about a campaign announcement.
“So, you’re just gonna have to stay tuned on all this,” DeSantis said to laughter from the crowd. “You’ll get there, one way or another, very soon – so you just have to do it.”
DeSantis noted he does not want to “short-circuit” the state’s ongoing legislative accomplishments as the session draws to a close this week.
“I’m not going to short-circuit any of the good work that we’ve done,” he said. “I mean, we want to make sure that we’re thorough about doing that.”
“Look, protecting the taxpayer with these line-item vetoes is very important,” said the Governor. “If you look [at] last year, I vetoed some big items $3.3 billion, but that generated the largest budget surplus in the history of the state of Florida.”
“So, we’ll see how it works out.”
DeSantis has previously indicated he would not make any national political announcement until after the legislative session wraps up May 5. Yet to be signed bills include legislation cracking down on China-linked land buys in the state, parental rights expansion, transgender surgeries and other priorities like lowering the age to purchase a firearm to 18.
Earlier this week the Florida Senate gave final passage to a bill that prohibits school teachers from teaching sexual orientation or gender identity from grades PreK-8.
The bill expands the Parental Rights in Education Act, falsely called “Don’t Say Gay,” which banned gender teachings in K-3 grades.
The legislation also puts restrictions on pronoun uses in schools, defines “sex,” and adds guidelines for books citizens are challenging in schools.
It passed through the Senate 27-12 and was carried by Sen. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville.
“The things that we are talking about in this bill are real. It is real that we are introducing a very adult agenda to children at a young age that is frankly completely inappropriate,” Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, said.
The bill extends the existing K-3 ban on instruction relating to sexual orientation and gender identity to also include PreK-8. Charter schools must comply with this requirement.
The bill defines “sex” as the classification of a person as either female or male based on the organization of the body of such person for a specific reproductive role, as indicated by the person’s sex chromosomes, naturally occurring sex hormones, along with internal and external genitalia present at birth.
It would also prohibit a school from requiring that an employee or student, as a condition of employment or enrollment or participation in any program, refer to another person by a pronoun that does not correspond to that person’s sex.
The bill text said an employee or contractor of a public K-12 educational institution may not provide their preferred pronouns to a student.
A student may not be asked by an employee or contractor of a public K-12 educational institution to provide his or her preferred personal title or pronouns or be penalized or subjected to adverse or discriminatory treatment for not providing his or her preferred personal title or pronouns.
In the past week DeSantis also signed legislation which will lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and create greater accountability and transparency for Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). “It is going to reform these problematic practices that have been used by PBMs,” DeSantis said.
PBMs manage prescription drug benefits for insurance companies. They act as the middleman for insurance companies and pharmacies, and can drive up costs for consumers.
The bill institutes regulatory best practices for PBMs operating in Florida and provides the Office of Insurance Regulation the authority to examine and investigate PBMs and review possible violations of rules, as is done with all insurers in the state, reported Florida's Voice.
POLITICO reported DeSantis is poised to have a spectacularly successful session for his own aims with many of his top priorities crossing the finish line. One GOP senator predicted that the final ratio would wind up being “95 percent to five percent.”
However, as popular as DeSantis is among Florida’s Joe Six-Pack voters, he has taken some hits. While his recent trip to Israel was widely praised, his speech to business leaders in London was widely panned as “low wattage.”
The criticism played to Team Trump’s latest line of attack: That DeSantis is someone with a "dull personality," who lacks charisma.
Recent polling from Fox News shows Trump as a favored candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, at 51% among GOP primary voters, compared to DeSantis's 30%.
When asked about his drop in the polls by The Wall Street Journal, DeSantis blamed it on the fact that he isn't a presidential candidate yet.
"I'm not a candidate, so we'll see if and when that changes," DeSantis said on Monday.
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