Protesters slam DeSantis outside Miami meeting with campaign donors
About 200 protestors gathered Wednesday across from a downtown Miami hotel where campaign donors met with Gov. Ron DeSantis before he formally announced he was running for president.
Waving gay pride flags and holding signs calling the governor a fascist, the large crowd slammed DeSantis for a host of policies and bills he signed into law following the end of this year’s state legislative session.
Bryce Hackmeyer, of Women's Voices of Southwest Florida, an abortion rights group, said they traveled to Florida because “it’s important for us here in Florida to stand up” and warn the country about “what is coming for them, if they vote for Ron DeSantis for president.”
One protester, Ben Braver, 20, of Tampa told the Miami Herald that DeSantis does not represent most Floridians.
“The state of Florida is about people who want abortion rights, who care about education,” Braver said.
One handful of demonstrators appeared outside the Four Seasons Hotel to back another Republican candidate: former President Donald Trump. They wore “Blacks for Trump” tee−shirts.
Prior to the DeSantis donor event the Democratic National Committee announced it had rolled out a mobile billboard campaign “calling out Ron DeSantis’s extreme MAGA agenda focused on taking away Floridians’ freedoms.”
With the help of GOP supermajorities in the statehouse, the Republican governor has been able to push through an aggressive agenda that forms the base of his White House run.
Here's a look at some of the policies:
DeSantis signed a bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, but it won't take effect unless the state’s current 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.
Critics, including some Republicans, have slammed the six-week law as extreme, given that most women do not even realize they are pregnant in that timeframe.
A coalition of groups earlier this month formally began a drive to try to pass a constitutional amendment in 2024 to ensure abortion rights in Florida.
“DON'T SAY GAY”
The DeSantis administration expanded the controversial law that critics call “Don't Say Gay" to cover all grades, banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
The move came after DeSantis signed a bill last year that prohibited such lessons through the third grade, a policy he has championed as a means to protect children from sexualization.
This year, the DeSantis administration put forward a proposal before the state Board of Education to expand the policy to grades 4-12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The board, which is appointed by DeSantis, approved the proposal and the Legislature put it in law.
DeSantis' education officials have said the policy is intended to make clear that teachers should adhere to the state education curriculum.
Another new law bans colleges from using state or federal funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs, a consistent target of DeSantis.
Such initiatives, sometimes referred to as DEI, have come under increasing criticism from Republicans who argue the programs are racially divisive.
The law comes a year after he signed legislation dubbed the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in schools and businesses. Last year's law bars instruction that says members of one race are inherently racist or should feel guilt for past actions committed by others of the same race, among other things.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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