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Get the latest coverage of the 2022 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Florida lawmakers are working to put the United States Space Force into state statutes


It was established as an independent branch of the uniformed services, and it’s the first new branch since the Air Force was authorized in 1947.

The United States Space Force was the target of a brief and pun-filled discussion this week at the Florida Capitol. Despite the bad jokes, a legislative plan would give the Space Force a legit place in state law.

"Truth is, I have a bill that's totally out of this world. So thank you for being willing to hear it,” said Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, to groans from the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “If you all would blast off with me; join me, guardians, in supporting the addition of the United States Space Force to Florida Statutes.”

Burgess’ bill (SB 438) updates state statutes to reflect the creation of the Space Force. Members of this branch of the military are called guardians.

An analysis by subcommittee staff says the Space Force was created in 2019 to conduct global space operations for U.S. joint and coalition forces. It was established as an independent branch of the uniformed services, and it’s the first new branch since the Air Force was authorized in 1947.

Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, tried to bargain with Burgess.

“If I vote for this bill, would you withdraw your request for the strawberry shortcake to be the state dessert?” Cruz asked.

“I'll rule that question out of order just to save you,” said committee chairman Ed Hooper, R-Palm Harbor, amid laughter. “I did not know that she harbored such strong feelings against Florida's dessert,” Burgess responded.

By the way, that proposal about the state dessert is getting strong support in both chambers.

There are two Space Force facilities in Florida: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base, both in coastal Brevard County.

“I guess I will support this bill,” said Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. “I always thought, Senator Burgess, you were a little more grounded in your presentations. Based on the past couple of bills and the words and phrases you’ve used, I'm not so sure.”

“I'm going to end with these wise words from a wise man that has come to become my second favorite president because of the national parks,” Burgess said. “Theodore Roosevelt once told us to keep our feet on the ground, but our eyes on the stars, Senator Boyd.”

Burgess’ bill was approved by the subcommittee.

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Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. She left after a few years to spend more time with her son, working part-time as the capital reporter/producer for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a drama teacher at Young Actors Theatre. She also blogged and reported for StateImpact Florida, an NPR education project, and produced podcasts and articles for AVISIAN Publishing. Gina has won awards for features, breaking news coverage, and newscasts from contests including the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, and Murrow Awards. Gina is on the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors. Gina is thrilled to be back at WFSU! In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and watch her son play football. Follow Gina Jordan on Twitter: @hearyourthought
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