In the onslaught of bills that many call “dangerous,” some proposed legislation may have flown under the radar, but if passed, these laws will have an impact on Floridians.
As Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to push an aggressive conservative agenda on race, gender and education ahead of his expected 2024 run for the presidency, some of the bills proposed by the governor and state GOP legislators during the state legislative session that convened on March 7 and will adjourn on May 5 have taken the lion’s share of attention.
Perhaps the best example is DeSantis’ House Bill 543, which would change current Florida law by eliminating a concealed-weapons licensing process that includes people undergoing criminal background checks and completing firearms-training courses.
In the onslaught of bills that some, like Democratic Boricua Senator from Florida Victor Torres, Jr. call “dangerous,” some proposed legislation may have flown under the radar but, if passed, will nonetheless impact whole communities.
RELATED: DeSantis’ War on ‘Woke’ and Extreme Restrictions on Education Could Backfire, Survey Suggests
Some of the issues may appear relatively inconsequential, like which flags are allowed to fly in public buildings. But warns US Rep. Maxwell Frost, they signal Gov. DeSantis’ “fascist” tendencies. For this reason, it is important to keep an eye on the Florida Legislature, which Thomas Kennedy, an elected Democratic National Committee member from Florida, calls “a body controlled by Republicans for over two decades [that] has ceased to function as an independent body and instead serves as a rubber stamp for Ron DeSantis.”
CS/SB 494: Fees in Lieu of Security Deposits.
This proposal would allow out-of-state companies to charge monthly fees on tenants who can’t pay security deposits when moving into a new apartment. Affordable housing advocates note that unlike security deposits, they are nonrefundable and would not be used to offset property damage.
HB 1543: Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer.
After 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018, murdering 17 people and injuring 17 others, Florida raised the minimum age requirement to purchase firearms to twenty-one years old. On Monday the Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House approved the bill. If passed by both the House and Senate, this bill would reduce the age to purchase or transfer a long gun from 21 now, to 18 years of age.
RELATED: ‘Worse Than Trump’: Rep. Maxwell Frost Speaks Out About Ron DeSantis in a One-on-One Interview
HB 1011: Display of Flags by Governmental Entities.
This bill specifically provides that certain governmental agencies and units of local government may only display specified flags. But don’t be fooled. The HB1011 bill is designed with one intent only: to keep the LGBTQ Pride flag from being flown in public buildings. At the same time, state Sen. Jay Collins (R-Tampa) filed an amendment to the flag ban bill listing the Confederate flag among the types of flags specifically exempted from the ban.
SB 102: The Landlord Protection Act.
In a nutshell: this bill would delete “the authority of local governments to adopt or maintain laws, ordinances, rules, or other measures that would have the effect of imposing controls on rents. In other words, Florida Republicans want to take away the local government’s ability to enact rent control during states of emergency.
HB 1223: Public PreK-12 Educational Institution and Instruction Requirements.
This is an expansion of DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans discussion of sexual orientation in the classroom. It would censor LGBTQ topics through 8th grade, including in charter schools along with public schools. The bill by the so-called “party of small government” would also establish government regulation of pronouns.