Ron DeSantis, the 46th Governor of Florida, is at it yet again.  His campaign slogan is “Freedom Lives Here,” but I’m not sure he is referring to the lovely sunshine state of Florida.  His campaign slogan completely contradicts all of the new laws and policies he has signed into effect.  If freedom lives here, then why is he signing so many bills into law that are restricting our freedoms?  Shouldn’t we have the freedom to make our own choices when it comes to education, protesting and our own bodies as women?!?!  Let’s explore the ridiculous bills that Governor DeSantis has signed into law in the last two years.  Don’t worry, he is not done yet!

Some of the bills that were signed into law in 2020 are listed below.

SB 172 is a law that prohibits the local government from regulating over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics, and sunscreen that have chemicals that can damage coral reefs.

HB 37 increases fines given to drivers that pass stopped school buses.

HB 327 is a law that makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to kill a bear during the closed season.  You would also lose your FWC permit for three years.

SB 646 gives college athletes the right to be compensated for the use of their names and images.

SB 1344 helps to make an “intermediate care” facility for people who have developmental and intellectual disabilities.

HB 971 gives electric bike riders the same rights as standard bike riders.

SB 1082 gives the courts permission to take control of animals in domestic violence situations.

SB 1628 requires the Florida Department of Education to make curriculums for all students so they can learn about the Holocaust and Black history(This is interesting since he is against critical race theory and people being “woke”)

HB 1005 gives local election supervisors the right to use a secondary system to verify election result accuracy.  They hope this law will speed up recounts.

HB 1179 makes it illegal for health care facilities and insurance companies to deny organ transplants to those who have intellectual disabilities.

SB 698 makes it illegal to perform a pelvic exam without written consent from the patient.  If no written consent is obtained, the health care provider can be charged with reproductive battery.

HB 573 states that any allegation or complaint of misconduct against a law enforcement officer or correctional officer can come from any source and can be investigated by a separate agency.

SB 1092 finally established a program for the Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Equipment Grant.

HB 763 requires health care facilities to conduct a safety culture survey of patients on the basis of anonymity and then publish those results.

SB 404 makes it so girls under the age of eighteen are required to have a parent’s consent prior to obtaining an abortion.

In 2021, DeSantis was extremely active with his blue Sharpie markers.  In one day, he signed over ninety (90) bills into law!  All of those laws are listed here.  One of the new laws includes making a task force of ten people to study unmarked and abandoned African American cemeteries (HB 37).  Another bill proposes how to crack down on “swatting” by assigning felony charges to anyone who falsely reports a crime and results in a police response that ends in death or great bodily harm (HB 371).  A bill that affects school districts went into effect where the school districts must notify parents that they can exempt their children from any health class lesson teaching reproductive health or any diseases, including HIV/AIDS (HB 545).

SB 90 is Florida’s new election integrity bill.  It is supposed to strengthen voter identification, prohibiting people from mass mailing ballots as well as banning ballot harvesting.  It is said that it also prohibits private elections in our state.  “Florida took action this legislative session to increase transparency and strengthen the security of our elections,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Floridians can rest assured that our state will remain a leader in ballot integrity. Elections should be free and fair, and these changes will ensure this continues to be the case in the Sunshine State. I would like to thank our legislative leaders on this issue – Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Senator Dennis Baxley, and Representative Blaise Ingoglia.”

SB 76 helps Floridians with insurance reform. The bill is aimed to protect Florida families by restructuring litigation rules for disputed insurance claims.  Also, the bill disallows contractors, public adjusters, and other companies from using prohibited advertisements that encourage Floridians to make an insurance claim for roof damage.  Lastly, it imposes fines up to $10,000 when companies violate this law. We all know during hurricane season that our roof is usually the first thing to go.  This law might not actually be a bad idea.  People are on budgets nowadays and can’t afford the price gouging set forth by contractors.

Recently, Governor DeSantis has signed some bills into law that are good for Florida while some are extremely controversial.  In the few short months that we have been in 2022, DeSantis has upset the masses!  If you remember your sixth-grade history classes than you will know who Qin Shi Huangdi is.  If not, he was the first Sovereign Qin (pronounced Chin) Emperor of China.  DeSantis and Huangdi are both intimidated by the past of the countries that they live in and have some control over.  The state of Florida elected Ronald DeSantis to be the governor.  Qin Shi Huangdi got his power because he overthrew the Zhou Dynasty that was in power before him.  Ronald DeSantis made empty promises to the people of Florida in order to get into office.  Just like Qin Shi Huangdi, Ronald DeSantis was scared of things he did not understand and got rid of those things and the people that did not align with his beliefs.

Huangdi wanted to erase China’s history and make his own.  DeSantis wants to erase American history and make his own as well.  In both periods of time, the people that they ruled over had to agree with them or consequences happened.  History, philosophy, and poetry books were burned so no one could learn from them as ordered by Huangdi.  He even went as far as burying scholars alive so they could not teach things that he did not agree with.  Fast forward to 2022 and books that teach critical race theory, sexual orientation and basic human history are being banned as ordered by Governor DeSantis.

One of the main bills that have been signed into law in 2022 is HB 1557.  This new law takes steps to protect students and put the power back in the hands of parents.  It does this by prohibiting classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.  After third grade, the conversations need to be age-appropriate.  The bill will also ensure that at the beginning of every school year the parents are notified about healthcare services offered at the school and that they have the right to decline any service the school offers.  Lastly, the bill ensures that whenever a questionnaire or health screening is given to students in kindergarten through third grade, the parents are to get it first and give permission to the school to administer the questionnaire or health screening to their child.  Now I know there are a lot of people that agree with this “Don’t Say Gay” bill but have you ever looked at exactly what children are taught in kindergarten through third grade?  Times have changed but nowhere in the curriculum is there any mention of pressuring young children to acknowledge their sexuality.  They are taught the alphabet, colors, numbers, how to write, what the weather is going to be for the day, how to share and how to stay in a straight line to get to the cafeteria for lunch without losing a kid!  Why is this bill even a law?  If a child is in a household with conservative parents and that child thinks they might not fit into the “norm” their parents think is appropriate then where is that child supposed to go?  Who are they supposed to talk to?  Teachers have been an outlet for so many kids when they are unable to confide in their parents.  Now that DeSantis has signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, kids have nowhere to turn.  Kids need an outlet to get answers to questions that they may not even know how to ask.  Imagine you are a teenage girl and all of a sudden you experience feelings for another girl.  Your parents are against same-sex relationships and make sure you know their feelings.  Where is that girl supposed to get answers from now that teachers cannot talk to their students about sexuality?  DeSantis is trying to force his own personal views on the entire state of Florida.  We know that if you do not agree with him then you will suffer consequences and repercussions.  Just ask Walt Disney World.

Another thing he has no clue about is the reproductive rights of WOMEN!  He signed HB 5 into law which prohibits a woman from having an abortion after 15 weeks of gestation.  His latest agenda becomes effective on July 1st.  The current Florida law states that a woman cannot have an abortion after 24 weeks of gestation.  There were no exceptions to this new law except if the mother’s life is in serious danger or if there was an “abnormality” with the fetus that is found and written as a diagnosis by two doctors.  So, if a young girl were raped by her family member and did not realize she was pregnant until she was 16 weeks along, she would have to have the baby.  If a woman were sexually assaulted by her abusive husband and ended up pregnant she would have to keep the baby because she kept getting her periods and now she is 22 weeks pregnant.  A young woman is taken from her home, forced to come to a new country, and then her body is used by so many men because her kidnappers force drugs into her arms to keep her complacent.  She is now 6 months pregnant and has no idea who the father is.  She has to continue the pregnancy because she can no longer get a safe abortion.  Imagine a teenage girl finding out she is pregnant on prom night because the dress she bought two months ago no longer fits like a glove.  She takes a pregnancy test at her friend’s house because she is scared to go home.  She goes to the doctor under a fake name and they tell her that she is 18 weeks pregnant.  She cries and becomes suicidal because she does not want a baby right now.  She tries to take care of it the right way but is turned away because she is too far along.  She finds a sketchy doctor who says he can help her.  She has a procedure and ends up getting a deadly infection and passing away.  These situations have happened and will continue to happen because Ron DeSantis is taking away a woman’s right to choose.  Women should be the only ones that have a say in what happens to their bodies.  Sometimes a woman finds herself in a situation that is less than ideal.  A man and the government should not have the right to tell her what she can and cannot do with it.  I understand that some people are pro-life but what about pro-choice.  Give women the right to make their own choices.  Let each woman decide what is best for themselves and their own body.  We each have to live with our choices and the consequences of them.  No one else will be punished for your “crimes” in the afterworld except you.  Why does the majority vote get to decide what women can do with their bodies?  Would you want to be told what to do by a man who has absolutely no idea what it is like to have an unwanted baby?

In summary, Governor Ron DeSantis is clearly not for everyone.  If you value the right to make your own choices about your body, do not move to Florida.  If you want your children to learn about all types of relationships in the world, do not move to Florida.  If you value your rights that were given to you by your ancestors who fought for them, then do not move to Florida.  There may be sunshine here year-round but is that enough compared to what you will lose once you become a resident here?  Please think long and hard before you decide to call Florida home.  Choices are no longer yours here.  Freedom does not live here.  Ron DeSantis and his fellow Republicans have taken over and are forcing their views and beliefs on everyone.  Think for yourself!  Stand up to the bullies that are trying to take over and force us to all have the same opinions.  More to come next week since DeSantis has to have a say in everything we can and can’t do in Florida now. Stay tuned.