ORLANDO, Fla. — With a supermajority, Republican lawmakers will have full control of what’s considered during the 2023 Florida legislative session.
Thanks to their political power, and Gov. Ron DeSantis’s popularity, much of the GOP’s proposals will likely become law.
UCF Associate Professor and political analyst Aubrey Jewett says democrats won’t have the ability to stop much of anything.
“Democrats just can’t stop anything, even procedurally — they can’t even really slow anything down,” said Jewett. “Republicans feel like they can do whatever they want, they’ve got a super-popular governor among Republicans — somebody who’s probably looking to run for president.”
DeSantis has already said lawmakers are expected to pass a bill that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without a license, and he would sign that bill into law.
Jewett says that’s likely a done deal, but the big question is if lawmakers will propose and pass an open carry law.
“Not only would there be no permit required, but you don’t have to keep it in a holster under your jacket or under your shirt – instead you can just wear it on a holster on your hip like the old days in the wild west,” said Jewett.
Florida Republicans will likely follow the governor’s lead and continue to push for changes with education.
“What we saw last session was the culture wars being fought in K-12 and in colleges in universities, and we’re going to see that again this year,” said Jewett. “We’re going to see for K-12 probably an expansion of the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”
Jewett says we can also expect legislation that would further restrict instruction of what lawmakers dub as “woke” teachings in colleges and universities that involve diversity and race, as well as a push to make private school vouchers accessible to all students in the state.
When it comes to affordable housing, an issue so many people in Florida are struggling with, there are proposals that could provide some relief. But Jewitt says the GOP-controlled legislature will only go so far.
“They’ve tried to take away, pre-empt local governments’ ability to have rent controls, so I don’t think we’re going to see anything down that avenue,” said Jewett.
“Instead, I imagine it will probably have to do with giving incentives to developers to build more affordable housing.”
Some Florida lawmakers have introduced bills that Jewett says likely will not pass, but are a sign of just how much power Republicans now have in Florida.
One is a measure that would eliminate the Democratic party as is. Another would require bloggers who report on elected leaders to register with the state.