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Understanding the effect of the state legislative session

Florida Supreme Court
Fresh Take Florida
/
Florida Supreme Court

A number of high-profile bills await Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature — bills that govern teaching about sexual orientation in schools, how companies conduct training around racial issues at work and protests outside people’s homes.

It took one extra day for state lawmakers to do the one thing they have to do each year: pass a state budget.

In the previous 60 days of the law-writing session, they were busy with a number of other items focusing on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislative social agenda.

There’s the new bill that bans classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation if it’s not considered age-appropriate. A bill that regulates how race-related subjects are taught in public schools bans classroom lessons that instruct a student to feel anguish or guilt for something in the past. This same bill applies to employee training programs.

Another bill gives parents more control of what books are used in schools.

Republican supporters have framed these issues around boosting individual freedoms. Opponents criticize them as unnecessary, uncivil and perhaps unconstitutional.

The economy and jobs consistently rank as the highest concerns for voters. State lawmakers spent relatively little time discussing these issues. Dominating the agenda were social issues including abortion and what supporters call parents rights.

The focus comes on what promises to be a contentious and pivotal political year in Florida and nationwide.

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