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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

A bill requiring stricter background checks for State Guardsmen awaits DeSantis' signature

Republican gubernatorial incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaks to supporters Aug. 23, 2022, in Hialeah, Fla.
Gaston De Cardenas
Republican gubernatorial incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaks to supporters Aug. 23, 2022, in Hialeah, Fla. DeSantis' effort to place candidates fully aligned with his conservative views on school boards throughout the state is helping him expand his influence.

The Legislature unanimously approved the measure Tuesday, March 5.

Floridians looking to join the Florida State Guard could soon have to undergo a level two background check.

The Florida Legislature approved the new requirement in HB 1551, a measure sponsored by state Rep. Mike Giallombardo, R-Cape Coral.

"It triggers a higher level FBI background check," Giallombardo said at a bill hearing.

Under HB 1551, new applicants will have to submit fingerprints to both the state and federal government so any arrest records or other criminal history can be reviewed by the State Guard.

The change comes as the disaster response agency is in Texas carrying out border control missions as directed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will soon get a chance to weigh in on the legislation.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.

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