JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Legislature wrapped up its annual 60-day legislative session Friday and delivered virtually every item on the Governor’s wish list and then some.
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature left no stone unturned this year, churning out conservative victories like a well-oiled machine.
“I don’t know that there was any meat left on the bone after this legislative session,” DeSantis said in a post-session press conference Friday.
Just a few of the most high-profile bills that crossed the finish line over the past two months include universal school choice, permitless concealed carry, a six-week abortion ban, litigation reform, defunding diversity, equity and inclusion on college campuses, banning gender care for minors, devesting state dollars from ESG, a crackdown on public-sector unions, death penalty reform and immigration reform.
“If you take just two or three of these items that would usually be enough to say that you had a banner session,” DeSantis said.
Democratic leaders had virtually no ability to block even the most-controversial policies and are now banking on Republicans overplaying their hand.
“These are the types of flexes, if you will, that are going to come back to perhaps bite them when it comes to the 2024 Election,” House Minority Leader Representative Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) said.
UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder argued the reverberation of the 2023 legislative session will likely be felt for years to come.
“This might be a once-in-a-generation type of legislative cycle,” Binder said.
He predicts Republicans aren’t likely to lose control of the legislature any time soon, thanks to favorable district maps, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
“The risk in taking the big leap is you push that pendulum too far and it begins to swing back the other way. We’ll see is the answer,” Binder said.
What also remains to be seen is whether Governor DeSantis can capitalize on his victories this session and turn it into momentum on the campaign trail.
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Most polls show him down roughly 30 points to former President Donald Trump.