The DeSantis team unleashed an avalanche of media surrounding his speech closing Florida’s legislative session, touting various legislative accomplishments.
DeSantis visited Marathon County, WI, a rural Obama-Trump voting county that makes up part of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. He spoke at the Lincoln Day Dinner of the local GOP. He focused on his legislative successes against the “woke mind virus” in recent months, whilst avoiding the prickly topic of abortion (despite his recent signing of on a 6-week abortion ban in Florida).
DeSantis returned to Florida in preparation for several bill signing ceremonies and with a trip to Illinois and Iowa also on the cards for the weekend.
DeSantis signed off on three pieces of legislation to “stop CCP influence.” These laws prevent the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing farmland or land near military installations in Florida, stops the storage of sensitive data in Chinese government affiliated servers and blocks access to TikTok (amongst other applications) on governmental and educational institution devices.
DeSantis signed more legislation into law, this time targeting education. These laws establish a “teacher’s bill of rights,” prohibit the automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks, require annual audits of unions, reduce the term limit from members of education boards from 12 to 8 years and turned education board elections into partisan votes. They also allow teachers to establish rules on the use of mobile devices in the classroom and prohibit the use of social media on district-owned devices. Additionally, he signed a law to establish 9/11 Heroes Day on which students must receive 45 minutes of teaching on the subject.
Polling continued to look shaky for the Florida governor, with Morning Consult releasing a poll showing him at 19% compared to Donald Trump’s 60%. On the upside for DeSantis, no else appears to be emerging from the pack, with third-placed Mike Pence sitting on 7%.
Thursday was another day of bill signing, this time focusing on immigration. The new legislation allocated further funding for DeSantis’s controversial program to send illegal immigrants to other states, bans local government and NGOs from issuing ID to illegal immigrants, toughens laws on human smuggling and introduces penalties for employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
The theme of Friday’s tranche of bill signings was healthcare. DeSantis signed into law legislation that bans mandated COVID-19 and mRNA vaccinations, prohibits the influence of the WHO in the decision making process in Florida, stops doctors from refusing to provide treatment based on vaccination status and allows doctors to prescribe ‘alternative’ treatments for patients who may oppose certain established treatments based on their own beliefs.
The last week in DeSantis world has been characterized by an avalanche of legislation being signed into law. With so much media relating to these ceremonies and with several events already on the schedule, there is increasing media expectation that his official campaign announcement is imminent even as his polling numbers continue to struggle.