September 24, 2023

The Florida Legislature handed a invoice on Tuesday that may cover the journey information of Gov. Ron DeSantis and different senior elected officers from public view, a major change to the state’s vaunted daylight legal guidelines as Mr. DeSantis appears into a possible presidential marketing campaign.

Whereas the regulation goals to cover the journey information of Mr. DeSantis and different senior officers beneath the guise of rising threats and operational safety, it additionally features a broad retroactive clause that blocks the publication of most of the journey information Mr. DeSantis and different officers, in addition to these taken by their households and workers.

Mr. DeSantis is going through rising scrutiny over his use of personal constitution flights, together with questions on who paid for the journey and who flew with him, particularly as his presidential ambitions turn into clearer and he travels extra actively. across the nation.

In previous years, Florida’s wide-ranging transparency legal guidelines have uncovered officers’ misuse of state assets: in 2003, for instance, Jim King, chairman of the State Senate, was discovered to have used a state aircraft to fly residence on weekends.

The invoice goes to Mr. DeSantis’ desk. The governor prevented direct feedback on the invoice and mentioned he didn’t develop the initiative, however many Florida Republicans anticipate him to signal it and turn into regulation.

“It is not essentially what I got here up with,” Mr. DeSantis. mentioned Monday at an occasion in Titusville. He added that the regulation was “motivated by safety issues” and that he acquired many threats.

The Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement, led by appointee DeSantis, additionally expressed assist for the invoice, saying in April that journey disclosures “pose a danger not solely to these we defend, however to FDLE brokers and residents attending occasions.” ”

Critics of the invoice, nevertheless, level out that including a retroactive clause is inconsistent with safety issues. “How can there be a journey security downside that has already arisen?” mentioned Barbara Petersen, government director of the Florida Heart for Authorities Accountability, after the invoice was first moved outdoors the committee in April.

The proposed adjustments have attracted the eye of a few of Mr. DeSantis’ potential rivals for the Republican presidency.

“In latest months, Governor DeSantis has used taxpayer {dollars} to journey throughout the nation as a part of his 2024 presidential marketing campaign, together with to early voting states in Iowa and Nevada,” the Trump marketing campaign mentioned in an announcement final month. “Nevertheless, the DeSantis gubernatorial workplace refuses to inform reporters – and the general public – how a lot taxpayer cash has been spent to fund these journeys, or how a lot DeSantis’ April round-the-world tour will value.”

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