Miami – The Florida Congress, with a Republican majority, began a new legislature this week in which it will debate several laws framed in the cultural battles of Governor Ron DeSantis, whom many American conservatives hope to see as a candidate for the White House in 2024.
The rising star of the Republicans has promoted legislative proposals in recent weeks with which he seeks to extend his war against Democratic politicians, companies and teachers whom he accuses of wanting to impose his “woke” progressive ideology on others.
During the 60-day legislative session, parliamentarians will study, among other issues, a law to ban diversity and equality programs at public universities and another to make it easier for public figures to sue the media for defamation.
They will also read a project to extend a controversial educational law approved last year: the one that prohibited the teaching of issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools.
If approved, the initiative will apply to eighth grade students (ages 12-13) instead of third grade (eight-nine years). The new text also prohibits attributing to a student “a pronoun that does not correspond to her sex” considering that “a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait.”
As happened in 2022, all of those proposals are expected to become law. DeSantis has the infallible support of the state Congress, which has made it possible to turn Florida into a laboratory for conservative politics and a great platform for their political promotion.
The 44-year-old governor enjoys enormous leverage over his party and his power has been bolstered after his resounding re-election against Democrat Charlie Crist with almost 60% of the vote in November.
“The bills that DeSantis is asking us to pass during the legislature are things we’ve talked about for years without having the courage to do. He has it,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo declared last month. “We’re going to take his agenda to the finish line.”
DeSantis’ initiatives on education, along with others such as a proposal to allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without permission or training, will no doubt keep him applauded by more conservative voters.
They will also ensure that he retains the extensive media coverage he has received since the Covid-19 pandemic, when his opposition to President Joe Biden’s health care policies made him one of the most popular Republicans.
A welcome help for him at a time when few doubt his intention to run as the Republican candidate for the White House next year, with former President Donald Trump as his biggest adversary.
DeSantis, who is reluctant to join the presidential race, has begun touring the United States to present his second memoir published on February 28: “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.” : The Florida Project for America’s Renaissance).
On Sunday, at one of those events in California, he defended the policies applied in what he likes to call “the free state of Florida” against the impositions he attributes to the Democrats.
“We’ve seen a huge American exodus from states run by left-wing politicians who push left-wing ideologies and deliver poor results,” DeSantis said at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, about 45 miles west of Los Angeles.
The latest data from the US census proves him right and shows that hundreds of thousands of inhabitants left states with a Democratic majority such as California and New York.
“And you can see huge population gains in states like Florida that are governing according to the tried-and-true principles that President Reagan (1981-1989) held dear,” he said.