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State of the State address; proposed abortion ban

Ron DeSantis
Phelan M. Ebenhack
/
AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a joint session of a legislative session on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tallahassee.

Gov. Ron DeSantis gave his annual State of the State address on Tuesday, opening the state legislative session in Tallahassee. He said he is proud of what he calls the Free State of Florida.

The only statewide-elected Democrat says the governor is not fit to serve. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says that’s because of a recently discovered stockpile of unused COVID tests as people around the state were waiting in long lines to learn their COVID status.

Fried is running for governor.

Even before Gov. DeSantis delivered his State of the State address, another candidate hoping to replace him in the governor’s mansion was criticizing his approach. Charlie Crist was governor as a Republican and is now running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The third Democrat running for governor, state Sen. Annette Taddeo, took issue with the governor calling Florida a “free state.”

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Proposed abortion ban

State lawmakers in Florida plan to pass legislation this year that would drastically limit access to abortions in the state. It’s a move sure to inflame growing tensions nationally over conservative efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The bill that is moving in Tallahassee would enact a ban on abortion in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy unless two doctors agree the fetus is suffering from a fatal abnormality, or if the mother’s life is endangered. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. Existing Florida law restricts abortions after 24 weeks.

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Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.