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Florida Gov. DeSantis might enter full-scale conflict with one of his top Republican aides over bill


Florida – A growing disagreement between Governor Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Paul Renner signals a potentially significant shift in Florida’s political landscape. The contention centers around a proposed bill that seeks to prohibit children under 16 from owning social media accounts, a move that has sparked debate on its constitutionality and the role of parental consent in legislation.

Check also: Florida is closer to banning minors from having social media accounts as DeSantis questions constitutionality

Governor DeSantis has raised concerns about the bill’s lack of a parental consent provision, suggesting it might not strike the right balance between aiding parents and overriding their authority. “I think you gotta strike that proper balance when you’re looking at these things between policy that is helping parents get to where they want to go, versus policy that may be just outright overruling parents,” DeSantis remarked, highlighting the need for policies that empower rather than bypass parental decisions.

This disagreement has put House Speaker Renner in a difficult position, as the bill in question is his top legislative priority for the year. Despite the governor’s reservations, the bill was advanced to his desk, setting the stage for a potential veto. With the legislative session still in progress, such a veto would allow for the possibility of an override by the legislature, a scenario that has not occurred during DeSantis’s tenure.

Check also: Bill that bans social media use for minors under 16 passed the house, existing accounts to be deleted if Senate turns it into law

The bill’s journey through the legislature has been contentious, passing the House with a veto-proof supermajority but falling just short of this threshold in the Senate. The divide was not only along party lines but also saw dissent among some Republicans, indicating a complex landscape of support and opposition within the party.

Dr. Michael Binder, a Political Science Professor at UNF, points out that the legislature’s disregard for the governor’s concerns about parental consent may signal a diminishing influence of DeSantis, especially following his unsuccessful bid for the presidency. This potential shift could have far-reaching implications for the governor’s ability to guide legislative outcomes in Florida.

Check also: After accusing social media giants of negatively impacting children’s health, Florida now considers prohibiting kids under 16 from using social media platforms

An override of a gubernatorial veto, should it occur, would be historic. It would mark the first time in over a quarter century, since Republicans gained control of the governor’s mansion, House, and Senate, that such an action has been taken against a Republican governor in Florida.

The scenario also raises concerns about the potential repercussions for legislators who support an override. As Binder suggests, the governor’s power to line-item veto projects could be used as leverage against perceived disloyalty, potentially transforming what appeared to be a smooth legislative session into a tumultuous battle of wills and ideologies.

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