The Florida Legislature crowned the new Republican leaders of the House and Senate on Tuesday, as the statehouse’s Republican supermajority appeared set to implement Governor Ron DeSantis’ conservative agenda.
Legislators gathered in Tallahassee for the official installation of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner.
Republicans have held firm control of the state government for years, but this month the party won more than a two-thirds majority in each chamber, giving the GOP wide latitude to pursue conservative policies as support for DeSantis as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate grows.
Renner told House lawmakers in a speech, “Together with our great governor, we will deliver on a bold agenda, securing a prosperous, abundant with opportunity, and high quality of life future for Florida.”
During the ceremonial meeting of the Legislature, Renner and Passidomo did not provide detailed policy explanations; however, controversial bills on education and abortion are likely to be introduced in the coming year. Both politicians alluded to a recent law that restricts education on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, implying that further legislation may be forthcoming.
“Some individuals are attempting to remove parents from key choices about their children. “Keeping parents in the dark about education, health, or sports is wrong,” added Passidomo. “In the future, we will ensure that every decision involving a child includes the parents at the table.”
Renner was more direct, stating, “Our historical period is one in which ideologues want to politicize everything, treating their ideology like a religion and demanding we adhere to it at all costs.”
They have prioritized indoctrination above education. They spend more time defending drag queen story time than teaching phonics and reading science, he added.
DeSantis has been able to fulfill his legislative agenda with the assistance of Republicans in the state legislature.
Together, they have fought back against COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates, restricted how racial issues can be taught in schools, and dissolved a private government controlled by Disney in Florida after the company publicly opposed a law restricting lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
The next normal session of the legislature is expected to begin in March.