The DeSantis Plan to Euthanize "Woke" Florida 2023: An Updated Scorecard

Illustrations by Tom Carlson (with apologies to Schoolhouse Rock); Ron DeSantis photo by Right Cheer/Creative Commons
Over the past several months, as his road-show rehearsal for a presumed presidential run proceeds apace, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken full advantage of his party's supermajority in Tallahassee.

Personal firearms, abortion, transgender healthcare, school curricula, capital punishment, even drag shows — Republicans have pushed through a raft of new legislation calculated to set right-wing hearts aflutter and liberal hair on fire.

Addressing the Heritage Foundation on April 21, DeSantis outlined exactly how he leveraged the whisker-slim margin that won him the keys to the governor's office in the 2018 midterm election.

"I may have earned 50 percent of the vote [in 2018], but that conferred upon me 100 percent of the executive power. And I resolved I was going to use that to advance a conservative agenda that would take Florida in a great direction... I can tell you all. Down in the state of Florida, we have only begun to fight."

Of course, it's difficult to see the vast expanse of the legislative meat counter for the individual sausages (as it were) — so we created a handy-dandy charticle!

There's no guarantee that all the bills outlined below will make it to the governor's desk by the time the gavel drops on the current session on Friday, May 5. Regardless, DeSantis will be able to take to the campaign trail and tout a homegrown legislative blueprint that burnishes his leadership bona fides and delivers on his incessantly repeated pledge to beat back "the woke mob."

Will this Florida blueprint propel the 44-year-old Jacksonville native to the Republican nomination in Milwaukee a year from now?

The results of two recent nationwide polls aren't exactly auspicious on that count. In a recent NBC News poll of likely Republican primary voters, DeSantis trailed Donald Trump by 15 percentage points; a similar Wall Street Journal poll had the governor down by 13 to the defeated and indicted ex-POTUS. And the governor has taken some knocks for his personality (or lack thereof).

Of course, no matter how the upcoming presidential race plays out, Floridians will have to contend with the fallout from DeSantis' strikingly big-government agenda for years to come.

— Tom Finkel

Editor's note: Legislation outlined below is presented roughly in chronological order, and from done deal to didn't happen. Icons indicate which basic human rights and/or American cultural touchstones these bills indulge or desecrate. (Click this link to view this non-updated story in its original pdf charticle glory.)

School Vouchers for All

BILL: House Bill 1
SUBJECT: Education
TL;DR: Down with public schools. Up with "universal school choice."
SUMMARY: Revises provisions relating to the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, part-time enrollment in public schools, transportation of students, graduation requirements, Commissioner of Education duties, & educator certifications.
INTRODUCED BY: Kaylee Tuck (Republican, District 83, Lake Placid), Susan Plasencia (Republican, District 37, Winter Park)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 3/17: Passed House (83-27); 3/23: Passed Senate (26-12); 3/27: Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis

Constitutional Carry

BILL: House Bill 543
SUBJECT: Public Safety
TL;DR: Concealed-carry permit? We don't have to show you no stinking concealed-carry permit!
Authorizes person to carry concealed weapon or firearm if he or she is licensed to do so or meets specified requirements; requires person who is carrying concealed weapon or firearm without license to carry identification & display upon demand by law enforcement; prohibits person who is carrying concealed weapon or firearm without license from carrying such weapon or firearm in specified locations; authorizes nonresident to carry concealed weapon or firearm in this state if he or she meets same requirements as resident; requires Office of Safe Schools to develop behavioral threat management operational process.
INTRODUCED BY: Robert Charles "Chuck" Brannan III (Republican, District 10, Macclenny)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 3/24: Passed House (76-32); 3/30: Passed Senate (27-13); 4/3: Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis

Six-Week Abortion Ban

BILL: Senate Bill 300
SUBJECT: Pregnancy and Parenting Support
TL;DR: Bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with drastic exceptions that allow up to 15 weeks.
SUMMARY: Citing this act as the "Heartbeat Protection Act"; requiring the Department of Health to contract for the management and delivery of parenting support services, in addition to pregnancy support services; prohibiting physicians from knowingly performing or inducing a termination of pregnancy after the gestational age of the fetus is determined to be more than six weeks, rather than 15 weeks, with exceptions; providing an exception if the woman obtaining the abortion is doing so because she is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking, subject to certain conditions; requiring that medications intended for use in a medical abortion be dispensed in person by a physician, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Erin Grall (Republican, District 29, Fort Pierce)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/3: Passed Senate (26-13); 4/13: Passed House (70-40); 4/13: Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis

Unanimous Jury Requirement Rescinded for Death Penalty

BILL: Senate Bill 450
SUBJECT: Death Penalty
TL;DR: Juries may recommend a death sentence if at least eight of the twelve members agree it should be imposed.
SUMMARY: Requiring a determination of a specified number of jurors, rather than jury unanimity, for a sentencing recommendation of death to the court; requiring a determination of a specified number of jurors, rather than jury unanimity, for a sentencing recommendation of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole to the court; requiring the court to impose the recommended sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if fewer than eight jurors recommend a sentence of death; requiring the court to include in its written order the reasons for not accepting the jury's recommended sentence, if applicable, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Blaise Ingoglia (Republican, District 11, Spring Hill)
RELATED BILLS: House Bill 555, House Bill 609, Senate Bill 520
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 3/30: Passed Senate (29-10); 4/13: Passed House (80-30); 4/20: Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Drag Show Ban

BILL: Senate Bill 1438
SUBJECT: Protection of Children
TL;DR: Bans minors from "adult live performances" with "lewd content." Doesn't specify drag shows or pride festivals, but you get the idea.
SUMMARY: Prohibiting a governmental entity from issuing a permit or otherwise authorizing a person to conduct a performance in violation of specified provisions; providing criminal penalties; authorizing the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to fine, suspend, or revoke the license of any public lodging establishment or public food service establishment if the establishment admits a child to an adult live performance; specifying that the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is given full power and authority to revoke or suspend the license of any person issued under the Beverage Law when it is determined or found by the division upon sufficient cause appearing that he or she is maintaining a licensed premise that admits a child to an adult live performance; prohibiting a person from knowingly admitting a child to an adult live performance, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Clay Yarborough (Republican, District 4, Jacksonville)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/11: Passed Senate (28-12); 4/19: Passed House (82-32)

Transgender "Bathroom Bill"

BILL: House Bill 1521
SUBJECT: Facility Requirements Based on Sex
TL;DR: Dictates which bathroom you use because you can't be trusted to do that yourself, groomer.
SUMMARY: Provides requirements for exclusive use of restrooms & changing facilities by gender; prohibits willfully entering restroom or changing facility designated for opposite sex & refusing to depart when asked to do so; provides requirements for exclusive use of domestic violence centers by gender; provides requirements for correctional institutions; requires entities that receive state licenses to submit compliance documentation; authorizes AG to bring enforcement actions; provides exception for individuals born with certain genetically or biochemically verifiable disorder of sex development.
INTRODUCED BY: Rachel Lora Saunders Plakon (Republican, District 36, Longwood)
RELATED BILLS: Senate Bill 1674
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/19: Passed House (80-37); 5/3: Passed Senate (26-12)

The Florida Sex-Education Bill

BILL: House Bill 1069
SUBJECT: Education
TL;DR: Sex and gender are determined at birth, as are personal pronouns. The mention of sexual orientation and gender identity is verboten until ninth grade. Abstinence and monogamy über alles! Abets parental requests for book banning.
SUMMARY: Defines "sex" for Florida Early Learning-20 Education Code; provides requirements relating to titles & pronouns; revises provisions relating to instruction & materials for specified instruction relating to reproductive health; provides additional requirements for instruction regarding human sexuality; provides district school boards are responsible for materials used in classroom libraries; revises provisions relating to objections of certain materials & process related to such objections; revises school principal, school district & district school board duties & responsibilities relating to certain materials & processes.
INTRODUCED BY: Stan McClain (Republican, District 27, Ocala), Adam Anderson (Republican, District 57, Tarpon Springs)
RELATED BILLS: Senate Bill 1320
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 3/31: Passed House (77-35); 5/3: Passed Senate (27-12)

"Physician Freedom" and "Medical Conscience"

BILL: Senate Bill 1580
SUBJECT: Protections of Medical Conscience
TL;DR: Allows healthcare providers and insurers to deny medical services on the basis of moral, religious, and ethical beliefs.
SUMMARY: Providing that health care providers and health care payors have the right to opt out of participation in or payment for certain health care services on the basis of conscience-based objections; providing requirements for a health care provider’s notice and documentation of such objection; providing whistle-blower protections for health care providers and health care payors that take certain actions or disclose certain information relating to the reporting of certain violations; prohibiting boards, or the Department of Health if there is no board, from taking disciplinary action against or denying a license to an individual based solely on specified conduct, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Jay Trumbull (Republican, District 2, Panama City)
RELATED BILLS: House Bill 1403
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/28: Passed Senate (28-11); 5/2: Passed House (84-34)

Gas Stoves!

BILL: House Bill 1281
SUBJECT: Preemption Over Utility Service Restrictions
TL;DR: You can pry my gas stove out of my cold dead hands!
SUMMARY: Prohibiting certain local governmental entities, subject to specified exceptions, from enacting or enforcing a resolution, an ordinance, a rule, a code, or a policy or from taking any action that restricts or prohibits or has the effect of restricting or prohibiting the use of appliances; revising an exception to preemption, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: James Buchanan (Republican, District 74, Osprey)
RELATED BILLS: Senate Bill 1256
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/26: Passed House (98-16); 4/28: Passed Senate (33-4)

Anti-Immigration Bill

BILL: Senate Bill 1718
SUBJECT: Immigration
TL;DR: Makes it a crime to "knowingly and willfully" transport or harbor undocumented immigrants "into or within" the state.
SUMMARY: Prohibiting counties and municipalities, respectively, from providing funds to any person, entity, or organization to issue identification documents to an individual who does not provide proof of lawful presence in the United States; specifying that certain driver licenses and permits issued by other states exclusively to unauthorized immigrants are not valid in this state; requiring certain hospitals to collect patient immigration status data information on admission or registration forms; increasing the maximum fine that may be imposed for a first violation of specified provisions relating to employing, hiring, recruiting, or referring aliens for private or public employment; creating a certain rebuttable presumption that the public employer, contractor, or subcontractor has not violated specified provisions with respect to the hiring of an unauthorized alien.
INTRODUCED BY: Blaise Ingoglia (Republican, District 11, Spring Hill)
RELATED BILLS: House Bill 1617
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/28: Passed Senate (27-10); 5/2: Passed House (83-36)

Stop Woke v.2.0

BILL: Senate Bill 266
SUBJECT: Higher Education
TL;DR: No state-funded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs at public universities and colleges. Bill restricts teaching of critical race theory while expanding powers of Board of Governors and university presidents.
SUMMARY: Revising the duties of the Board of Governors relating to the mission of each state university; requiring the Board of Governors Accountability Plan to annually report certain research expenditures of a specified amount; prohibiting specified educational institutions from expending funds for certain purposes; revising how general education core courses are established; specifying a one-time limit on the requirement to change accrediting agencies, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Erin Grall (Republican, District 29, Fort Pierce)
RELATED BILLS: House Bill 999
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 4/28: Passed Senate (27-12); 5/3: Passed House (81-34)

"Protect" Minors "Subjected to" Gender-Affirming Care

BILL: Senate Bill 254
SUBJECT: Treatments for Sex Reassignment
TL;DR: Bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care (e.g., puberty blockers, hormones). Bans state-funded coverage for transgender care.
SUMMARY (AMENDED): Granting courts of this state temporary emergency jurisdiction over a child present in this state if the child has been subjected to or is threatened with being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures; providing that, for purposes of warrants to take physical custody of a child in certain child custody enforcement proceedings, serious physical harm to the child includes, but is not limited to, being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures; prohibiting certain public entities from expending state funds for the provision of sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures; prohibiting sex-reassignment prescriptions and procedures for patients younger than 18 years of age; requiring the department to immediately suspend the license of a health care practitioner who is arrested for committing or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit specified violations related to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures for a patient younger than 18 years of age, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Clay Yarborough (Republican, District 4, Jacksonville)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 5/4: Amended bill passed House (83-28), passed Senate (26-13)

The "Baby Box" Bill

BILL: House Bill 899
SUBJECT: Surrendered Newborn Infants
TL;DR: Hospitals and emergency medical facilities may install "high-tech newborn infant safety devices" to facilitate abandonment of unwanted newborns (cf. Senate Bill 300).
SUMMARY: Authorizes hospitals, emergency medical services stations, & fire stations to use newborn infant safety devices to accept surrendered newborn infants if device meets specified criteria; requires hospitals, emergency medical services stations, or fire stations to physically check & test devices at specified intervals; authorizes parent to leave newborn infant with medical staff or licensed healthcare professional at hospital after delivery of newborn infant; authorizes parent to surrender newborn infant by calling 911 & requesting EMS provider to meet at specified location to retrieve newborn infant.
INTRODUCED BY: Jennifer Canady (Republican, District 50, Lakeland)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: 3/31: Passed House (111-0); Died in Senate Rules Committee

DeSantis Defamation Bill

BILL: Senate Bill 1220
SUBJECT: Defamation and Related Actions
TL;DR: Makes it easier for non-elected government officials, including police officers, to sue for defamation.
SUMMARY: Specifying that the professional journalist's privilege does not apply to defamation or related actions; specifying that the publication of an altered or unaltered photograph, video, or audio recording may form the basis of a defamation action; specifying that a defamatory allegation is made with actual malice for purposes of a defamation action under certain circumstances; providing that the negligence standard applies in a defamation action in which the defendant does not identify the source for a defamatory statement.
INTRODUCED BY: Jason Brodeur (Republican, District 10, Lake Mary)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: Died in Senate Rules Committee

Lower Gun-Buying Age to 18

BILL: House Bill 1543
SUBJECT: Minimum Age for Firearm Purchase or Transfer
TL;DR: Sweet child of mine, you aren't old enough to drink legally, but to celebrate your 18th birthday, here's your very own Ruger!
SUMMARY: Reducing [from 21 to 18] the minimum age at which a person may purchase a firearm & age of purchasers to which specified licensees are prohibited from selling or transferring firearms.
INTRODUCED BY: Bobby Payne (Republican, District 20, Palatka)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: Died in Senate Rules Committee

The "Reverse Woke Act"

BILL: Senate Bill 952
SUBJECT: Employer Coverage of Gender Dysphoria Treatment
TL;DR: Employers that cover gender reassignment treatment must also foot the bill for reversal thereof.
SUMMARY: Citing this act as the "Reverse Woke Act"; requiring employers that provide coverage of gender dysphoria treatment to also cover the full costs associated with treatment that reverses such gender dysphoria treatment, regardless of the rate of coverage provided for the initial treatment; prohibiting employers from making coverage of the subsequent treatment contingent on whether the employee receives such treatment in this state; creating a right of action for aggrieved persons to recover actual total costs and damages from an employer or former employer, as applicable, under certain circumstances, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Blaise Ingoglia (Senate Republican, District 11, Spring Hill), Taylor Michael Yarkowsky (House Republican, District 25, Montverde)
RELATED BILLS: House Bill 1265 (Identical)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: Died in Senate Health Policy Committee

The Confederate Monument Bill

BILL: Senate Bill 1096
SUBJECT: Monuments and Memorials
TL;DR: Allows citizens and entities to sue over unauthorized removal or alteration of Confederate monuments.
Citing this act as the "Historical Monuments and Memorials Protection Act"; defining the terms "memorial" and "monument"; providing that a person or an entity that damages, defaces, destroys, or removes a monument or memorial is liable for treble the costs to return, repair, or replace the monument or memorial; prohibiting the placement of specified objects on or near a memorial that existed before a specified date, etc.
INTRODUCED BY: Jonathan Martin (Republican, District 33, Fort Myers)
VOTES, BILL STATUS AS OF MAY 5, 2023: Died in Senate Rules Committee
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Tom Finkel began his journalism career in Miami in 1989, when New Times, then a fledgling weekly, hired him as a proofreader. He left as managing editor nine years later, only to return in 2019, having served in the meantime as editor-in-chief of City Pages in Minneapolis, Riverfront Times in St. Louis, and the Village Voice in New York City.
Contact: Tom Finkel
Miami New Times staff

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