We hereby vow that, until the institution of the Florida State Legislature is re-balanced, we will never again suggest that the legislature of the third-largest state should spend more than 90 days per year (one month of committee meetings, two months of session) in Tallahassee. What they accomplished in 60 days of legislating will take years of civil rights lawsuits to unwind. State Rep. Anna Eskamani’s twin sister, and also a force in Tally, Ida Eskamani, summed it up nicely:
All of this is bad, but the cutback in affordable housing, the failure to raise our miserable unemployment insurance maximum, and the assault on the rights, and possibly the bodies, of transgender girls on the basis of no facts or anecdotal evidence of a problem really hit us in our policy agenda.
Freshman Rep. Angie Nixon (D, Jacksonville) mood was reflected in this one:
Florida Democrats fought like hell, offered amendments, pleaded with their colleagues to see sense, and occasionally thought they had beaten back the worst of the bad bills, like the transgender sports ban, only to find them re-introduced as an add-on to another bill. One can hardly blame them for being angry and exhausted.
But wait, there’s more—they get to go back to a Special Session in May to consider a likely illegal deal that Governor Ron DeSantis has struck with the Seminole Nation.
The article posits two possible stumbling blocks: The Interior Secretary and the will of Florida voters expressed in 2018.
Two things to keep in mind here: First, the FL legislature refused, on a straight party-line vote, to return to Tallahassee last year to address our broken unemployment insurance system, or to provide any Covid relief (and indeed, they didn’t address either issue this session). Second, the ruling minority has no regard for constitutional ballot initiatives passed by 60% or more of state voters. Just add this to the ACLU’s To Do list.
All of this dog-whistle legislating is apparently intended to burnish the brand of the Governor who is up for re-election in 2022, and Trump’s preferred running mate in 2024. And if you don’t think Trump will be at liberty to run again in 2024, then Ron’s the guy to take up his mantle of willful ignorance, mendacity, racism, and division. Why? Because, of course, of how “well he has managed Covid.”
Nate Monroe, columnist for the Florida Times-Union has a great body of work on this subject. Our favorite headline is this one:
Monroe argues that it was the Mayors who flouted DeSantis, keeping mask mandates and capacity limits in place when he removed such hindrances to our “liberties”, rather than anyone who followed his “guidance” who deserve the credit for any limited success the state has experienced with the virus. But when the positivity rate in Los Angeles is .9% and in Miami is 9.7%, it’s probably premature to be handing out treats to anyone.
To recap, Florida Republicans spent 90-days following the playbook of the guy they want to re-elect to be Florida’s governor so he can govern for maybe 8 months before he starts campaigning for 2024. Here’s a fun thought exercise, which we have tried a couple of times to hilarious effect: ask a Republican of your acquaintance what the name of the Lieutenant Governor is, or anything about her. They will have no idea, and yet, that is who they are rooting for.
The Democratic nominee for Governor should offer to debate Jeanette Nuñez.