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Florida | Ron DeSantis continues his war against progressivism



(Miami) Firearms, gender identity, ethnic diversity… The Florida Parliament begins its session on Tuesday with a series of highly controversial bills led by its Governor Ron DeSantis, who is flirting with a candidacy for the presidential election of 2024.

A rising star on the hard right, the governor of the Sunshine State has pledged to make his state a laboratory of conservative ideas, hoping that they will propel him towards the White House.

During their parliamentary session, elected officials in Florida will thus examine a bill aimed at making illegal programs promoting diversity in public universities or even a text to more easily sue the media for defamation.

Also on the menu, a text to further restrict the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation or gender identity. This measure, nicknamed by its opponents “Don’t say gay”, has already been in force for primary school since 2022. It would now be extended to middle school students.

All these texts have a very good chance of being adopted given the enormous influence which the 44-year-old Republican enjoys on his party, which has the majority in both chambers of the Florida Parliament.

“The bills he’s asking us to pass are a series of things we’ve been talking about for a long time, but never had the courage to do,” said Kathleen Passidomo, president of the southeastern state Senate. east of the country, in February.

“We will ensure that his program is adopted,” she assured.

“Great Exodus”

The program in question is not confined to education: a bill greatly relaxing restrictions around the carrying of weapons in his state should also satisfy his ultra-conservative allies.

And will continue to offer the governor, whose long-awaited presidential bid, the media attention that many candidates would dream of.

Ron DeSantis, however, resists the idea of ​​​​entering the arena prematurely and facing mano-a-mano his greatest rival Donald Trump, who has already begun to dress him up with his famous nicknames.

Instead, the former congressman has embarked on a grand tour of the country, anxious to cultivate his political capital beyond the borders of his state.

And to promote his memoirs, skilfully baptized The Courage to Be Free: Florida as a Model for Righting America.

He thus went to California on Sunday – which leans largely on the Democratic side – to defend all the policies carried out in what he likes to call “the free state of Florida”.

“We have seen a great exodus from states ruled by leftist politicians imposing leftist ideologies that produce bad results,” he said bluntly from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, not far from Los Angeles.

It is backed up by recent US census data, which shows hundreds of thousands of people have left states such as California and New York.

On the contrary, he asserted a bit provocatively, “you can see massive increases (in population) in states like Florida, which govern according to proven principles. »

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