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How presidential politics could shape Florida's legislative session

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium backed by a U.S. flag and a Florida flag
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference to announce more funding for rural broadband internet in February 2023.

State lawmakers start the legislative session soon. They will be working alongside Ron DeSantis, the governor and presidential candidate, crafting new laws on education, the environment, business and much more.

Florida lawmakers in recent years have mostly fallen in line with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda.

However, one question hovering over the 2024 session, which begins Jan. 9, is how much support DeSantis will have.

DeSantis is locked in a bruising presidential primary campaign with former president Donald Trump, and the two Florida men are dividing the loyalties of the state GOP.

Just a few days after the session begins, Iowa Republicans hold caucuses to decide their party’s nominee to take on President Biden.

So just how much time can — or will — DeSantis expect to spend in Florida at this crucial moment in his political career?

On this episode, we talk about how presidential politics might shape Florida’s legislative session. We discuss the governor’s budget request and examine bills on the environment, child labor, education, health care, and talk about the continued consolidation of power in Tallahassee and what it means for residents in the greater Tampa Bay region.

Joining Florida Matters are political journalist and Tampa Bay Times correspondent William March, WUSF politics and environment reporter Steve Newborn, and investigative journalist and publisher of Seeking Rents, Jason Garcia.

I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.
Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.