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

'We are currently underprepared': Florida lawmakers want to grow the state’s National Guard

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, talks with members of the Florida National Guard, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. DeSantis held a news conference at the stadium where the National Guard opened a drive-thru testing site. On Sunday, they were only testing first responders. On Monday, they planned to expand it to people at least 65 years old who are showing symptoms of the illness. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/AP
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AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, talks with members of the Florida National Guard, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. DeSantis held a news conference at the stadium where the National Guard opened a drive-thru testing site. On Sunday, they were only testing first responders. On Monday, they planned to expand it to people at least 65 years old who are showing symptoms of the illness. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Officials must first take it up with the federal government.

Florida lawmakers want to grow the state’s National Guard. A bill passed during this legislative session will do just that.

SM 226 is a message urging Congress and President Joe Biden’s Administration to increase the size of the Florida National Guard.

Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, spear headed the proposal in his chamber.

“We are allocated 12,000 guardsmen for a state of 22-million residents," said Daley. "That is the second to last for ratio of guardsmen to population out of the 54 national guard units in our country.”

A member of the Florida National Guard directs traffic, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The National Guard opened a drive-thru testing site Sunday testing first responders. On Monday, they planned to expand it to people at least 65 years old who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/AP
/
AP
A member of the Florida National Guard directs traffic, Sunday, March 22, 2020, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The National Guard opened a drive-thru testing site Sunday testing first responders. On Monday, they planned to expand it to people at least 65 years old who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

According to the memorial, the federal government hasn’t increased the Florida National Guard’s funding or its number of troops in more than six decades.

“We are currently underprepared for a large scale disaster," state Sen. Tom Wright, R-Port Orange, said on the Senate floor. "Hopefully we don’t have one. But when and where it may be, we want to be ready."

Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis sent 1,000 members of the National and State Guard to secure the U.S. Mexico Border.

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.