Speaking to a packed Florida House chamber filled with lawmakers on the opening day of the Legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis made his final pitch to legislators Tuesday for the bills he hopes will cross his desk.
“We here today are united in insisting that the constitutional protections central to a free society are honored for all of our citizens,” he said “Having spent three terms in a different legislature, a prison that I call U.S. House of Representatives, it is quite a privilege to be able to work with a legislative body that has demonstrated the ability to get things done and to lead.”
Days away from marking his second month in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis is still sailing on a wave of bipartisan goodwill after a hard-fought, highly partisan campaign. Except for a few trips to Washington and New York, DeSantis has largely kept up his breakneck pace of traveling Florida and making announcements endorsing bills in the Legislature or proposing ideas of his own.
In that spirit, DeSantis opened his speech with issues popular on both sides of the aisle: cleaning up Florida’s environment, helping the Panhandle recover from Hurricane Michael and the Cabinet’s pardon of four black men, known as the “Groveland Four,” who were wrongly accused and punished for raping a white woman 70 years ago.
And he promised to keep up what has been this signature style thus far, what he calls “energy in the executive.”
“Now is the time to be bold,” DeSantis told the lawmakers.
Even so, the agenda DeSantis outlined contained highly conservative pieces that foreshadow coming fights between the parties and with the Legislative leaders. His speech included a call to expand school vouchers to allow general revenue dollars to be used toward private school tuition, and the GOP crowd-pleaser of eliminating so-called sanctuary cities — both issues that could be explosive this Legislative session.
“Florida will not be a sanctuary state,” DeSantis promised.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.