Fort Lauderdale—The Broward Workshop held a “Board of Directors” meeting on Wednesday and invited State Senators Shevrin Jones (D) and Lauren Book (D), and State Rep. Chip LaMarca (R) to give the group a summary of the newly-concluded 2022 Florida legislative session.
The “legislative wrap-up” was moderated by former U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R).
Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book was quick to criticize Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled state legislature of starting “culture wars” and “picking fights” with Florida corporations like Disney.
Sen. Book listed a group of controversial bills the legislature addressed, adding that the reason that these bills were pushed during the legislative session was to help Gov. DeSantis’s potential 2024 run for President.
“It was a very tough session from parental choice and “Don't say gay,” to banning abortion after 15 weeks with no exemptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking, to the “Stop Woke” act, immigration bills, and Draconian elections bill to continue to put somebody forward for a presidential run,” said Sen. Book.
Book added that because the legislature was “too busy fighting these culture wars to help somebody’s future presidential run,” the redistricting issue had to be pushed off to a special session as a result of the DeSantis and the Republican legislature stalemate on drawing the congressional redistricting maps.
“These are things that we should not be doing in the legislative session. We had two jobs this year and he talked a little bit about redistricting. That was passing the fair maps or going back to fix the congressional maps and a budget. And you couldn't do that all the time, because we were too busy fighting these culture wars to help somebody's future presidential run,” added Book.
Rep. LaMarca quickly defended DeSantis and the legislature’s actions, questioning Book’s and the Florida Democratic narrative that DeSantis was only doing what he was doing because he was going to run for president.
“I’m going to take a little exception with the narrative of that everything the governor does is to run President. Florida is in great shape. And it's in great shape because of the work we do and the work that he's leading,” quipped LaMarca. “I do wish some of the narrative or some of the conversation would be strictly on policy and governing and less on what the rest of the world thinks.”
Rep. LaMarca then talked about the “perception” versus the actual “reality” of what transpired over the legislative session.
LaMarca said, “I want to talk just briefly about perception versus reality.”
“Perception is all we talked about social issues. All we talked about the culture wars, we talked a lot about them, but we passed 285 bills sent to the governor—98% of them were bipartisan. 60% were unanimous like 100% and seven of those were the ones that we debated extensively.”
Gov. DeSantis's spokeswoman Christina Pushaw responded to a request for comment, saying that most Floridians opposed teaching children "gender fluidity and pansexuality."
"The only “culture war” is the Left’s war against normal people. The vast majority of Floridians, regardless of party, oppose the idea of teaching kindergartners about topics like gender fluidity and pansexuality," stated Pushaw.
Legislators will head back to Tallahassee on April 18 to address the special session on redistricting Gov. DeSantis has called for.