DeSantis Touts ‘Freedom’ in Florida While Passing ‘Scary’ Bills That Restrict Freedom

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Image via AP Photo/Phil Sears.

By Mivette Vega

March 8, 2023

During his State of the State address, the governor spoke of Florida’s “freedom,” and at the same time of the restrictions that have raised so much controversy in the state.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday, marking the start of Florida’s 2023 legislative session.

During his speech, DeSantis did not make mention of his possible run for president in 2024, despite the fact that he is expected to announce it in the coming months, becoming former president Donald Trump’s top rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

RELATED: DeSantis and FL Republicans Propose Bill to Ban Abortions After Six Weeks of Pregnancy

Instead, the governor focused on highlighting the achievements of his administration, hinting that it could be a good blueprint for the rest of the nation.

“Florida is the fastest growing state in the nation. We rank number one for net in-migration . We rank number one in the nation for new business formations. We are number one in economic growth among large states,” he said.

​​DeSantis spoke of “freedom” in Florida and, at the same time, of the restrictions that have raised so many controversies in the state, such as the law banning instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary school, and the banning of books.

DeSantis also showed his authoritarianism on issues like COVID, which killed almost 90,000 Floridians.

“We defied the experts. We bucked the elites. We ignored the chatter. We did it our way, the Florida way. And the result is that we are the number one destination for our fellow Americans who are looking for a better life,” DeSantis said.

“I can promise you this: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” the governor added at the end of his speech.

To strike back, Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, along with other Democratic lawmakers, held a press conference after DeSantis’ address.

“This is scary. These are scary times and none of the bills that have been introduced by the Republicans will improve the lives of Floridians, not make them safe, not make them healthy, not make them prosperous,” Book said.

RELATED: A New Florida GOP Bill Could Make It Legal for Parents to Kidnap Their Trans Kids

House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell pointed out Florida’s ranking on important issues compared to other states.

“He talks about Florida being number one. But what we know is that Florida is 49th in mental health funding, 48th in teacher pay, 42 in per pupil funding. He championed environmental successes, but we are 45 in the nation. A number of superfund sites. He talks about tax cuts, but we are 48 in tax fairness,” Driskell said.


  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.



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