May 5, 2023 - Politics

Florida GOP lawmakers pave the way for DeSantis '24

Photo illustration of Ron DeSantis holding a present.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn't announced he's running for president, nor has he launched an exploratory committee or filed any federal paperwork.

Yes, but: That didn't stop the state Legislature from giving him everything he might need to pursue the White House.

What's happening: Republican lawmakers in Florida have passed a spate of measures, including revised election laws and budget allocations, that appear to bode well for DeSantis' expected 2024 presidential campaign.

  • The Legislature also tackled several of the governor's legislative priorities, from placing a permanent ban on mask mandates to prohibiting Florida universities from funding diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Details: The Legislature passed a measure, part of broader elections legislation, that allows DeSantis to run for president without needing to vacate his statewide office.

  • The legislation alters the language of Florida's "resign-to-run" law, which required a candidate to resign from their post before running for office, to exclude people running for president or vice president.

Lawmakers also agreed to shield information tied to "security and transportation services" provided to the governor from public view.

  • The measure comes after a handful of trips DeSantis took across the U.S. to promote his book, "The Courage to Be Free," and after his return from an overseas trade mission in Japan, South Korea, Israel and the U.K.
  • The governor said the public records carve-out was "motivated by a security concern," noting that he's received "a lot" of death threats.

What they're saying: "No Democrat supported this," House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) told Axios.

  • It is "blatantly obvious they wanted to make it easier for DeSantis to take every opportunity to leave Florida in an attempt to raise his profile before the inevitable announcement."

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