With the end of the 2023 Florida legislative session, all eyes now turn to the presidential ambitions of Governor Ron DeSantis. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board recently wrote that, “His pitch for 2024 is that he delivers results, without all the drama.” However, within the opinion piece, the Journal highlights a cautionary note related to his record on abortion and his very public fight with Disney.
The WSJ notes that Mr. DeSantis has been blessed with Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature, so he can’t claim total credit. Some planks of his platform are controversial among conservatives, and others could prove politically unpalatable to a national electorate. Yet there’s no denying that Mr. DeSantis gets things done.”
The WSJ provides assessments of several legislative victories which include education, immigration, and tort reform. On education, the WSJ states “that the Legislature eliminated income and enrollment caps. Each family is eligible for about $8,700, with priority going to households at or below 185% of the poverty line. Meantime, the state is spending more on pay for public-school teachers, this time a bump of $252 million.”
On immigration, the Journal writes that the “Legislature’s response to President Biden’s border failure was to impose new burdens on Florida employers. Businesses with more than 25 workers must now use E-Verify to check employment eligibility, or else they can be fined $1,000 a day. E-Verify is far from reliable, and the law could have a negative impact on the state’s economy, especially in construction, agriculture, hotels and restaurants. Florida will also refuse to recognize out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to illegal immigrants.”
And on tort reform, the WSJ informs readers that if “a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% responsible for his own injuries, he no longer is able to recover damages. Other invitations to legal abuse, such as “one-way attorney fees,” are eliminated. Florida is still too friendly to tort suits, but this is an improvement.”
With the recent upset win by Democrat Donna Deegan in the Jacksonville mayoral race, many Democrats point to the election as a harbinger of things to come due to the extreme positions taken by DeSantis in an attempt to appeal the Republican presidential primary voters. The WSJ editorial addressed two of these positions.
On abortion, the Journal states the Heartbeat Protection Act, which bans abortions at six weeks, “is a political gamble that is sure to be attacked by Democrats if Mr. DeSantis gets the GOP nomination.”
And on the Disney issue, the Journal notes that “his brawl with Disney has become distractingly personal.”
The WSJ, who has soured on Trump’s campaign run, is high on DeSantis but acknowledges that “Mr. DeSantis will need a broader agenda for national revival when he enters the presidential race.”