2023 Florida Legislative Session Concludes

Daniel Perodin, Staff Writer

On May 5, the regular session of the Florida Legislature adjourned, bringing an eventful term to an end. The 2023 session brought forth many new laws, stirring up controversy in the process. 

The Florida Legislature has Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate, meaning that Republicans generally have little difficulty passing the laws they propose. The fact that Governor Ron DeSantis is also a Republican aids the process of these bills becoming law. 

One such law bans abortions after six weeks in most cases. Critics argue that the law puts limits on what women can do with their bodies and that many women do not know they are pregnant at six weeks.

“I am against it. I think like many women have been saying, at six weeks you don’t even know that you’re pregnant. So it’s a tremendous burden on women. Women have a right to control their own body,” Co-Coordinator of the Labor-Community Alliance of South Florida Lorenzo Canizares said.

The future speaker of the Florida House, Daniel Perez, claims the abortion law is about preserving life.

“There were exceptions for that bill. So any female that unfortunately had to go through the tragedy of rape or incest would not apply to the six-week abortion ban,” Perez said. “It’s to protect unborn children.”

Another controversial law passed during the 2023 legislative session was permitless carry. Gun owners in Florida will no longer need to obtain a permit to conceal carry. Gun control activists and many Democrats opposed the law. 

“It will increase the possibilities of more shootings and more deaths resulting from gun violence,” Canizares said.

The legislature also secured 2.7 billion dollars in tax cuts and passed a law designed to lower prescription drug prices. Other laws passed by the legislature and signed by DeSantis include making certain cases of sexual battery against children a capital offense and removing the requirement for a jury to make a unanimous decision in death penalty cases. 

Additionally, DeSantis signed a law that prohibits banks from making decisions based on ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors, and instead forcing them to only consider financial risk factors when lending. On May 11 DeSantis signed 37 bills, one of which allows him to keep his travel records confidential. The remaining bills signed by DeSantis ranged from regulating safety measures in roller skating rinks and specifying who qualifies to operate a golf cart, to a law that requires hospitals to ask for citizenship status and details penalties for businesses that employ undocumented immigrants

Perez sees the legislative session as a success and commends Governor DeSantis’ leadership. 

“I am satisfied with [DeSantis’] leadership and I think the rest of the country is as well. Florida has over 1300 people moving to Florida a day. Our economy is booming more than any other state. We have more in reserves and reserve money for the state of Florida than we ever have in the history of the state of Florida. We’ve had the largest tax cuts in the history of the state of Florida. The economy is like it’s never been and a lot of that is because of the legislature’s work with Governor Ron DeSantis,” Perez said.