Controversial Bills Signed into Law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a series of controversial bills into law, including an immigration bill that he has called the “strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country.”[0] The bill requires hospitals that take Medicaid to collect data on the citizenship status of patients, mandates that businesses with 25 or more employees use E-Verify to screen job applicants’ legal status, and imposes tougher penalties on those who knowingly hire or transport undocumented people in the state.[1] However, the bill has been criticized by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who called it “immoral” and accused DeSantis of taking advantage of people’s pain and need for political gain.[2]

Another controversial bill signed by DeSantis allows health care providers and payors to deny services based on their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.[3] The law, which goes into effect on July 1, has been criticized by opponents who argue that it could lead to discrimination against women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals. The bill makes no mention of protections against gender or race-based discrimination, leading opponents to worry that it will let providers deny care or coverage to certain groups.[4]

In addition, DeSantis signed a bill that shields his past and future travel records from public access, which has been widely criticized as an attempt to hide his movements.[5] Critics argue that the public has a right to know where their governor is going, when, and who he is meeting with.[6] The bill also authorizes spending $12 million for the Division of Emergency Management’s Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, which DeSantis used last year to transport about 50 mostly Venezuelan asylum-seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, off the Massachusetts coast.[7]

Other bills signed by DeSantis include measures that prohibit businesses, government agencies, and schools from requiring proof of vaccination or post-infection recovery from COVID-19, as well as testing or mask-wearing, to gain entry or access services.[8] The governor also signed a set of “medical freedom” measures into law, including bans on mask and vaccine mandates and new conscience protections for health providers.[9]

Critics have slammed DeSantis for signing bills that they say put vulnerable Floridians in danger and give health care providers and insurance companies the right to refuse services to people. Some have called on the governor to resign and accused him of using controversial bills to score cheap political points. However, DeSantis has defended the bills, saying that they protect the rights of Floridians and ensure that taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration.

0. “‘Slap in the Face’: South Florida Residents Protest New Immigration Law” NBC 6 South Florida, 12 May. 2023,

1. “Florida Governor DeSantis unveils hardline immigration package” Al Jazeera English, 10 May. 2023,

2. “Mexican president calls Florida’s new anti-immigration bill ‘immoral'” POLITICO, 8 May. 2023,

3. “Florida SB 1580 now law. What conscience-based health care law does:” Pensacola News Journal, 11 May. 2023,

4. “It’s Now Legal in Florida for Doctors to Deny Health Care to Anyone If They Feel Like It” The New Republic, 11 May. 2023,

5. “DeSantis travel records will be hidden under new law” Business Insider, 11 May. 2023,

6. “Ron DeSantis Hiding His Travel Records Sparks Outrage: ‘How Is This Legal?'” Newsweek, 12 May. 2023,

7. “DeSantis signs new Florida illegal immigration restrictions into law” Business Insider, 10 May. 2023,

8. “Gov. DeSantis signs bill that targets COVID-19 vaccine, mask mandates in Florida” FOX 13 Tampa, 11 May. 2023,

9. “DeSantis signs “medical freedom” laws” Axios, 12 May. 2023,

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