Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that will shield the travel records of Governor Ron DeSantis and other state leaders from public disclosure.
The bill, which passed in the Florida House along a party-line vote of 84-31 after clearing the Senate last month, will exempt the travel history of the state’s governor and their immediate family, the lieutenant governor, Cabinet members, Senate president, House speaker and the state Supreme Court’s chief justice from public records laws.
Republicans argue that the bill is necessary in order to protect the safety of state leaders and law enforcement officials. However, Democrats have blasted the bill, claiming that its intent is to help DeSantis in his potential presidential run.
“While the bill also shields information about where the governor went, it also blocks the disclosure of whom he met with and what for,” said one Florida Democratic lawmaker.
DeSantis has been traveling extensively in recent weeks, making trips to key nominating states in the Republican primary contest as well as international destinations such as Israel, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
At a press conference for bill signings on Monday, DeSantis said that he did not propose the bill, claiming it was prompted by security concerns for leaders in the state.
“With the security situation, how you do patterns of movements if you’re somebody that is targeted — which unfortunately I am, and I get a lot of threats — that could be something that could be helpful for people that may not want to do good things,” he said.
The passage of the bill has been met with mixed reactions, with some arguing that the bill is necessary for the safety of state leaders and law enforcement officials and others claiming that it is intended to help DeSantis in his potential run for president.
Whatever the case may be, the bill has passed, and Governor DeSantis and other state leaders will now have the luxury of shielding their travel records from public disclosure. This move is sure to be controversial, but in the end, it will be up to the public to decide whether or not they agree with the decision.