DeSantis Kicks Off Florida Legislative Session with Culture War Pledges and Travel Plans

On Tuesday, Florida lawmakers began their annual 60-day legislative session, and Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off his State of the State address with a campaign-style speech signaling a renewed battle over the state’s culture wars.[0]

Unexpectedly, GOP lawmakers on Tuesday also proposed a six-week abortion ban just minutes before DeSantis delivered his speech.[1] The proposed ban has the support of legislative leaders and includes language tying its effective date to a ruling by the conservative-leaning state high court.[2] Republicans have not yet settled on a new legislative framework for the future of abortion access in the state.[3]

Governor DeSantis, in his address, acknowledged the need to safeguard life, yet he failed to provide any details.[4] He also indicated approval for legislative efforts to mirror the measures taken by his administration to prohibit treatments for transgender minors.[4]

DeSantis’ out-of-state travel has also picked up.[4] He’s set to travel to Alabama on Thursday before heading to the early nominating states of Iowa and Nevada this weekend.[4] He’s also promoting his new book, “The Courage to Be Free,” while on the road.[5]

In his 30-minute address, DeSantis declared that they have taken their position in Florida at the forefront of the fight for liberty.[6] We have achieved great success in making Florida the most sought-after spot in the country. Our accomplishments are remarkable. Nevertheless, we must not become complacent.[0]

He stated that many Americans relocated from certain blue states to Florida, illustrating that they “voted with their feet”. This led to a population boom in Florida.[7]

He declared that, at a time when common sense was no longer a widely held value, Florida was a refuge of rationality and a stronghold of liberty not only in the US, but across the globe.[8]

DeSantis also urged lawmakers to expand Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education bill,” which bans instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms up until third grade.[9] Legislators desire to expand the prohibition until eighth grade.[2] The ban has been referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics[9]

In the wake of midterm elections that saw Republicans dominate in Florida and build legislative super-majorities, Democrats have largely acknowledged there is little they can do to slow down DeSantis’ agenda.[2]

0. “DeSantis declares Florida ‘No. 1 state in the nation’ in speech” Orlando Sentinel, 7 Mar. 2023,

1. “DeSantis vows legislative session will be “most productive yet,” as he mulls potential 2024 campaign” CBS News, 7 Mar. 2023,

2. “DeSantis delivers annual state of state — with an eye to 2024” POLITICO, 7 Mar. 2023,

3. “DeSantis agenda — and potential campaign platform — in the spotlight as Florida lawmakers return to work” CNN, 6 Mar. 2023,

4. “DeSantis points to looming culture wars with Florida ‘on the front lines in the battle for freedom'” CNN, 8 Mar. 2023,

5. “Florida session will add DeSantis victories ahead of presidential run” Business Insider, 6 Mar. 2023,

6. “DeSantis opens Legislature with pledge to push Florida further right” Tallahassee Democrat, 7 Mar. 2023,

7. “In Calif. speech that draws protests, DeSantis stokes fight over pandemic” The Washington Post, 6 Mar. 2023,

8. “Ron DeSantis Signals That His Florida Record Will Be a Presidential Campaign Theme – Opinion: Potomac Watch …” The Wall Street Journal, 6 Mar. 2023,

9. “US Republican leader Ron DeSantis lays out right-wing platform” Al Jazeera English, 7 Mar. 2023,

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