Since scoring major electoral victories in the 2022 midterms, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature have been busy at work making their state the most conservative in the nation.
On an almost-weekly basis, Florida Republicans are implementing laws designed to defeat leftists’ ongoing jihad against sanity and the American experiment. From protecting Florida’s children from the harms of transgenderism to strengthening Second Amendment rights, DeSantis and company are creating a sanctuary for freedom-loving Americans seeking refuge from the government-induced tyranny in blue states. It’s a blueprint that should — but hasn’t been — replicated by other allegedly “red” states.
By employing Florida’s framework for success, Republicans can create a multi-state coalition to fight back against the left’s continued encroachment on the country’s freedoms and livelihoods. To help make this goal a reality, The Federalist has compiled a list of the Sunshine State’s major 2023 legislative victories that citizens in other GOP-dominated states can model to make their communities as conservative as Florida.
Protecting Children from Leftist Indoctrination and Perversion
Last week, DeSantis signed a series of bills aimed at protecting children from leftist indoctrination and perversion. Under HB 1069, students and teachers would no longer be required to “declare” their pronouns at school or be forced to address someone with pronouns not based on one’s sex. The bill also prohibits school officials from instructing children in Pre-K through eighth grade on concepts such as sexual orientation and so-called “gender identity.” The latter provision builds upon the state’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill implemented last year that bars school officials from instructing children in kindergarten through third grade on such concepts.
DeSantis also signed SB 254 and SB 1438, banning harmful transgender procedures and puberty blockers for minors and protecting children from sexually explicit performances (such as drag shows), respectively. While the former measure would grant Florida courts the ability to intervene and halt the aforementioned procedures for out-of-state minors, the latter would allow the state to fine and suspend the license of any establishment found violating the law.
The Florida governor also signed HB 1297, which permits capital punishment for individuals convicted of sexual battery against minors under the age of 12, earlier this month.
Banning Taxpayer-Funded ‘DEI’ in Higher Education
Signed into law on May 15, SB 266 bars Florida universities from using federal or state taxpayer money to fund so-called “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” or DEI, programs. For context, DEI is a divisive and poisonous ideology dismissive of merit to discriminate based on characteristics such as skin color and sexual orientation. Individuals who qualify for a certain position due to their merits but don’t meet the discriminating entity’s goal of being more “diverse” are passed over in favor of those who meet institutionally preferred identitarian standards.
Crackdown on Crime
In an effort to counter leftist prosecutors’ soft-on-crime policies, Florida Republicans passed HB 1627, which seeks to strengthen the state’s bail laws. The legislature additionally passed HB 1359, which enhances punishments for individuals caught trafficking fentanyl that looks like candy. According to a press release from DeSantis’s office, “those who traffic such substances [become] eligible for a life sentence” and could face “a minimum 25 year sentence and a $1 million penalty.”
Florida further expanded the Second Amendment rights of its citizens last month after DeSantis signed HB 543, which allows for permitless carry of a concealed firearm. The passage of the bill makes Florida the nation’s 26th “constitutional carry” state, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Defending Life in the Womb
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Florida legislature passed the “Heartbeat Protection Act.” The bill (SB 300) — which was signed into law last month — prohibits abortions once the unborn baby has a detectible heartbeat.
Confronting CCP Influence
Earlier this month, DeSantis signed a series of bills aimed at combatting the influence of the Chinese Communist Party in Florida. According to a press release, the legislation aims to “limit Chinese purchases of agriculture land and land near military bases and critical infrastructure, to protect digital data from Chinese spies, and to root out Chinese influence in Florida’s education system.”
On May 11, DeSantis signed a legislative package outlawing much of the medical tyranny the country experienced during Covid-19 lockdowns. Included in the various bills are provisions banning businesses and governments from mandating individuals show proof of vaccination (for entry, service, or employment), prohibiting gain-of-function research, and expanding free speech protections for health care providers and physicians.
Central Bank Digital Currency
Signed earlier this month, SB 7054 prohibits “the use of a federally adopted central bank digital currency (CBDC) by excluding it from the definition of money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code.” CBDC is a form of electronic money issued and controlled by a nation’s central bank or monetary authority. The policy could allow governments to exert greater control over their citizens’ financial activities and is supported by globalist organizations such as the World Economic Forum.
Earlier this month, DeSantis signed HB 3, which, according to a local news outlet, bans “environmental, social and governance considerations from investment decisions and protect[s] consumers’ ability to access financial services” in Florida. As The Federalist previously reported, ESG standards are a tool used to evaluate companies based on how “woke” they are based on a series of environmental, social, and governance metrics. Developed “by bankers, investors, activists, and, in some cases, government officials,” ESG models can reward or punish businesses based on their commitment to leftist concepts such as “environmental” and “social” justice.
Florida implemented SB 1718 earlier this month to combat the open border policies of President Joe Biden. According to a press release, the bill “makes using E-Verify mandatory for any employer with 25 or more employees, imposes enforceable penalties for those employing illegal aliens, and enhances penalties for human smuggling.” The measure furthermore invalidates ID cards issued to illegal aliens in other states, bars local governments from providing ID cards to illegal aliens, and requires hospitals “to collect and submit data on the costs of providing health care to illegal aliens.”
Signed into law last week, HB 1521 stipulates that facilities reserved for women, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, may only be used by women and not men claiming to be women. The bill further requires “educational institutions, detention facilities, correctional institutions, juvenile correctional facilities, and public buildings with a restroom or changing facility to designate separate facilities based on biological sex or to provide one-person unisex facilities,” according to a DeSantis press release.
Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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