How Would Ron DeSantis “Make America Florida”?

The Florida governor, who is finally expected to make his presidential ambitions official soon, has a terrifying blueprint.

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It’s hard to remember a time when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t acting like a man thirsting for the presidency. But after endless speculation and refusals to make his ambitions official, he’s expected finally to announce that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination next week.

So what would a DeSantis administration look like? The last chapter of The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival, his second memoir, is titled “Make America Florida,” which seems to make clear that DeSantis hopes to bring his twisted views on freedom to the White House. Look no further than his legislative record for specifics: The governor’s pen has been used to enact countless bans and restrictions on issues ranging from reproductive rights to property rights. Since they’ve been spewed out so frequently—sometimes in the dead of night as with his six-week abortion ban—we’ve put together a list of some of the key bills DeSantis signed into law this session to help keep track of all his work.

Education

Defunded diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Florida’s state colleges and universities

Prohibited public colleges from requiring students, faculty, and staff to express support for DEI initiatives prior to admittance or hiring 

Immigration

Signed an expansive immigration bill, in response to the expiration of Title 42—a controversial Trump-era measure that used an obscure public health authority to turn away migrants. The DeSantis bill:

  • Directs $12 million towards relocating undocumented immigrants out of Florida
  • Requires businesses to virtually verify their employees’ citizenship, prompting a boycott from truckers, who’ve threatened to stop delivering shipments in the state. (Several videos of drivers on strike and other workers standing in solidarity have gone viral on social media.)
  • Prohibits local governments from issuing anyone who can’t verify their citizenship an ID card 
  • Mandates hospitals that accept Medicaid include a question about a patient’s citizenship on their intake forms
  • Increases penalties for transporting a migrant across state lines to a third-degree felony 

You can look at the entire bill here

Property Rights

Prohibited Chinese nationals from buying land unless they are either American citizens or permanent residents

Imposed restrictions on citizens from specific countries—including China, Russia, and Venezuela—with non-tourist visas from buying land near military bases

Banking

Banned state officials from making investment decisions based on “environmental, social, governance” goals. Also known as ESG, these initiatives are often used to encourage companies to increase diversity and environmental sustainability efforts and have become a popular target in the GOP’s war against “wokeism.” 

Disney

Escalating the ongoing legal feud between the governor and Disney, DeSantis signed a bill that effectively allows the corporate board he appointed to void Disney’s development agreements. In response, Disney filed a motion to dismiss the case.

Healthcare

Signed the “Heartbeat Protection Act,” a six-week abortion ban that prohibits physicians from performing the procedure in most cases. While the law includes exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking, the pregnant person is required to provide “a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation providing evidence.”

Allowed healthcare providers and insurers to deny patients medical care on the basis of religious, moral, or ethical beliefs

Criminal Justice

Signed a bill in which child rapists would be eligible for the death penalty (with a minimum sentence of life without parole), despite the Supreme Court already ruling capital punishment for the rape of a child unconstitutional in 2008

Eliminated unanimous jury decisions for the death penalty, making Florida the state with the lowest threshold for administering capital punishment

Guns

Authorized concealed carry without a permit and ended a state requirement to undergo training before carrying a concealed weapon outside the home

Signed a law blocking credit card companies from tracking firearm purchases

LGBTQ Rights

In the “Parents’ Rights in Education Bill,” he extended restrictions on the education of gender and sexual orientation in schools, which initially prohibited lessons from kindergarten to third grade, to the eighth grade.

Prohibits doctors from prescribing gender-affirming care, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy, to transgender youths 

Signed a measure prohibiting minors from attending drag shows

Passed an extensive bill containing several transphobic policies and restrictions, including:

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