Puerto rico government

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his surgeon gene

Placeholder while loading article actions

In the past 24 hours, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has made it harder for transgender people to get Medicaid support, canceled funding for a Tampa Bay Rays practice stadium due to the the team tweeted against gun violence and threatened the Special Olympics with a $27.5 million fine. on coronavirus vaccine requirements.

He hunt drove away protesters who demanded action on gun violence, telling them “no one wants to hear from you,” and he also signed the state’s biggest budget ever at $101.5 billion.

“We have a lot going on in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said at a press conference Friday, noting the state’s robust economy, buoyed by high tourist numbers and a infusion of federal covid relief money. “I’m a good place to be.”

But critics say DeSantis(R) is ignoring the state’s real issues to wage a war on “revivalism” that primarily appeals to his Republican base. DeSantis is up for re-election in November and is seen by many as a potential presidential candidate in 2024.

“It’s a continuation of the DeSantis mayhem tour. He’s not governing; he’s playing,” said state Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat. “In the process, he’s tackling marginalized groups of people as it continues to fuel the flames of culture war.”

Eskamani was one of the protesters outside a ticketed event in Orlando on Thursday night where DeSantis appeared with conservative commentator Dave Rubin. DeSantis, who supports changing Florida gun laws to allow people to carry firearms without a license, did not comment on the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 people dead. children and two teachers.

Florida has been the scene of some of the most gruesome mass shootings in the country. In 2016, 49 people were killed by a gunman at Pulse nightclub, a haven for the city’s gay community. Two years later, a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

DeSantis said last month that he would sign a “constitutional portage” law if presented to him in a special session of the legislature he called, which began May 23. The Uvalde massacre took place on May 24 and the issue of firearms did not come up. in the Florida legislature.

As DeSantis spoke on Friday, he was flanked by several Special Olympics athletes who had been told they could not attend the organization’s event in Florida this weekend because they had no fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The state Department of Health said it was fining Special Olympics International nearly $30 million for 5,500 alleged violations of the DeSantis Anti-Vaccine Mandate Act created last year.

The organization initially required all attendees to be vaccinated, a violation of Florida law, which prohibits “vaccination passports” and results in a $5,000 fine for each person a company or government agency requires present proof of vaccination.

The organization on Thursday rescinded the vaccine requirement “based on the Florida Department of Health’s interpretation of Florida law,” a spokeswoman said.

The fine notice came nine days before the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics USA Games to be held in Orlando on June 5, according to Special Olympics spokeswoman Rebecca Simon. She said the event, which draws 5,000 athletes from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, hasn’t seen a drop in entries due to the vaccine requirement.

On Friday, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo appeared alongside DeSantis and said the vaccine requirement “makes no sense.” He falsely claimed that vaccines offered “virtually no protection against infection”. (Studies show that vaccines remain highly effective in preventing serious illness and death from the coronavirus.)

Neither Ladapo nor DeSantis addressed the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state. More than 76,000 people in Florida have died from covid-19 since the pandemic began.

The DeSantis administration addressed a different health issue on Thursday, releasing a Florida Agency for Health Care Administration report that concluded Medicaid dollars should not be used to pay for health care. gender affirmation for transgender people, as these treatments are not safe. This conclusion contradicts the main medical opinions.

The report paves the way for DeSantis to enact a rule banning Medicaid coverage for transgender people of any age.

“This is a dangerous escalation in his assault on transgender Floridians,” said Brandon Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida. Wolf described DeSantis’ rhetoric about transgender people as “incredibly dehumanizing”, suggesting it was a “quest to stoke right-wing fervor”.

Wolf, who is a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting, also denounced DeSantis’ veto of $150,000 for mental health resources for other survivors of the Pulse massacre.

“In a year when they have enough money to do all sorts of things, it was such a tiny amount for those resources that when he vetoed it, it was hard not to feel personal,” said Wolf.

That line item was part of $3 billion in spending approved by the GOP-led legislature, but vetoed by DeSantis. Another item: $35 million for a new spring training camp for the Tampa Bay Rays. The veto came a week after the team called for action on gun safety laws following the Uvalde mass shooting.

DeSantis is a baseball fan whose youth team went to the Little League World Series. He also played at Yale and on the GOP baseball team when he served in Congress. Last week, his election campaign offered Ron DeSantis “Classic Baseball Cards” for $49.

But the Rays lost state funding for their spring training camp because, DeSantis said, it wouldn’t have been a “prudent use” of taxpayer dollars.

“It is also inappropriate to subsidize the political activism of a private company,” he said.