DeSantis’ busy April schedule points to likely destination

DeSantis’ busy April schedule points to likely destination

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Hello and welcome to Wednesday.

The agenda — State legislators in 2023 have been working at a frantic pace that has defied the normal rhythms. Lawsuit limits and voucher expansion bills have passed and have already been signed before the halfway point. This morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will be in Naples to sign Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s affordable housing push. So far Republicans have sidestepped questions that they are doing it to deliver signature victories for DeSantis as quickly as possible, and yet ….

Book it — DeSantis’ out-of-state calendar is getting more and more full ahead of an expected presidential launch soon after this year’s legislative session.

Georgia on my mind — Atlanta-area media have reported that DeSantis is scheduled to visit a Georgia gun store this Thursday to promote his new book — a visit that will come the same day that lawmakers are expected to send to him a bill that scraps permitting requirements for concealed weapon holders.

Where in the world? There’s a trip to Pennsylvania and Long Island this weekend followed by a reported visit to Tennessee early next week. DeSantis is scheduled to be at Hillsdale College in Michigan — yes, the same institution the governor wants New College to emulate — for a panel discussion, reception and dinner on April 6.

Western swing — The middle of April includes stops in Ohio and crucial early primary state New Hampshire. And the end of the month is coming into focus as well: DeSantis is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Utah Republican Party convention on April 22. Puck reports that DeSantis will be in Austin, Texas, that same evening for a reception and dinner hosted by Jon Lonsdale and his wife Taylor. The report says that business and political contacts of Lonsdale, an investor and co-founder of Palantir, are expected to attend.

International destination — Then, DeSantis will head to Jerusalem, Israel, for just his second trip abroad since becoming governor in 2019. Amid the recent turmoil in the country, DeSantis will talk about the importance of the U.S.-Israeli relationship during a April 27 speech at the Jerusalem Post and Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem “Celebrate the Faces of Israel” event.

Takeoff ahead Looks like the plane is getting ready to leave the runway.

— WHERE’S RON? — Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to be in Naples with Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner where he is expected to sign a comprehensive affordable housing bill into law.

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN DeSantis heading to Israel ahead of likely 2024 bid, by POLITICO’s Gary Fineout: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who once vowed to be the most “pro-Israel governor in America,” will make his second visit to the nation right before he’s expected to jump into the 2024 presidential race. The Jerusalem Post and Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem announced Tuesday that DeSantis will head to Israel, where he is expected to deliver the keynote address on April 27 for an event titled “Celebrate the Faces of Israel.” His trip abroad will come after swings through several states next month, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Utah.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

BE HIT AND HIT BACK — “DeSantis faces setbacks as potential Trump indictment looms over 2024 race,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Emily L. Mahoney and Jay Cridlin: “First came Ron DeSanctimonious. Then came RINO Ron, depicting Gov. Ron DeSantis as a Republican In Name Only. Over the weekend, the world got Ron Dukakis, conflating DeSantis with Democratic presidential loser Michael Dukakis. Week after week, former President Donald Trump tries out new nicknames for his one-time protégé and chief rival for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nod. They’re part of a growing number of slings and setbacks that, for the first time in months, have made DeSantis’s political future look a bit wobbly.”

SAYING NICE THINGS — ‘He’s done a great job’: Youngkin praises would-be rivals, by POLITICO’s Daniel Lippman and John F. Harris: As Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin ponders a 2024 presidential campaign, he is not exactly sharpening his sword against potential GOP rivals. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis? “He’s done a great job,” Youngkin said in a recent interview here. “If you look at Florida, he’s done a great job.” Referencing his own efforts to bring economic development to Virginia, in which employers are sometimes making a choice between the two states, “He’s a tough competitor.”

ASSESSMENT — “DeSantis is ‘living rent-free in Trump’s head’ according to the Florida governor’s allies,” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser: “[Gov. Ron] DeSantis allies argued that Trump’s attacks on the Florida governor are a sign of weakness. ‘Gov. DeSantis hasn’t even officially entered the race for the White House, and it is crystal clear DeSantis is living rent-free in Trump’s head and the only person who can beat the former president. This is a two-man race, and Trump knows it. Gov. DeSantis has an increasing base of support in key early voting states,’ Erin Perrine told Fox News.

GREEN RECORD — “DeSantis fights for Everglades as he neglects climate crisis,” by Bloomberg’s Michael Smith: “[Gov. Ron] DeSantis has embraced conservation and clean water unlike just about any Florida governor before him. His focus on restoring the Everglades, in particular, has won him hefty donations that could help pay for an expected run for the White House in 2024. At the same time, he’s divorced his form of environmentalism from the larger climate agenda that’s anathema to most of the Republican Party, mainly by avoiding the term ‘climate change.’”

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TOP OWL? — “Randy Fine said he was approached about FAU president job amid education culture war,” by Florida Today’s Tyler Vazquez: “In what could become the latest move by Gov. Ron DeSantis to reshape Florida’s educational institutions to reflect his administration’s cultural conservatism, Florida Atlantic University may be getting a new president in the form of a Republican firebrand state lawmaker from Brevard County. Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) confirmed Tuesday morning that he had been approached by the governor about taking the position of FAU’s president but had not received a formal offer or said if he would accept the job.”

Thinking about it Fine, who has two degrees from Harvard, told Playbook on Tuesday evening that the discussion was “incredibly flattering, and course I would consider it.” Fine’s father was a professor in Kentucky but the legislator says his father could not move higher because he was Jewish. “I’ve thought a lot about that since I was first approached. I wanted to be a professor when I was a was kid, like my Dade – who is the man by which I measure my own life, and always come up short — but he wanted me to make the money we never had. So I’ve thought a lot about that too.”

TARGETED AGAIN — “House plan to overhaul Florida tourism revenue not welcome by industry, counties,” by USA Today Network-Florida’s John Kennedy: “Tourism officials from across the state urged a House panel Tuesday to reject a proposal they say threatens the advertising and promotion of everything from local festivals to Florida itself when forced to try to bounce back from devastating hurricanes. Lawmakers listened. Then, ruling Republicans voted in favor of the fiercely opposed measure, which would dramatically overhaul county tourist development revenue spending and the state’s lead marketing agency, Visit Florida.”

MOVING AHEAD — “Six-week abortion ban in Florida headed for full Senate vote. Law would be one of the strictest in the nation,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Cindy Krischer Goodman: “The ban moves for a vote on Thursday to the full Senate, which had approved a 15-week restriction on abortion last year. The six-week ban proposed by Sen. Erin Grall, R-Fort Pierce, includes exceptions for rape and incest until 15 weeks of pregnancy, but only if a victim provides documentation of a crime. It also requires that pills for use in a medical abortion be dispensed in person, prohibiting mail orders.”

FOR YOUR RADAR — Senate at odds with DeSantis, House on Indian River Lagoon and resiliency spending, by POLITICO’s Bruce Ritchie: While legislators this year are giving Gov. Ron DeSantis much of what he wants on his policy initiatives, a Senate budget proposal advanced Tuesday that falls short on two key areas of the governor’s spending priorities. The Senate budget proposal provides $120 million for resiliency projects compared to $350 million requested by DeSantis. The Senate proposal also includes only $25 million towards the $100 million requested by the governor for a new Indian River Lagoon Protection Program.

GATOR GRAB — UF’s new civics center in line for major cash, by POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury: State lawmakers are preparing to pump millions of dollars into a budding civics program at the University of Florida far exceeding even what Gov. Ron DeSantis wants. UF’s Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education, which was created by lawmakers last year for $3 million, is in line to score possibly 10 times that amount in the 2023-24 budget — or possibly even more — as university leaders seek to renovate a historic space to house the program.

— “House advances bill boosting state worker pensions,” by Florida Politics’ Gray Rohrer

— “Florida left voter roll accuracy program, ERIC. Emails reveal value, spur questions,” by USA Today Network-Florida’s Douglas Soule

— “House panel advances bill protecting war monuments, including Confederate memorials,” by Florida Politics’ A.G. Gancarski

— “Randy Fine blasts DMS over Capitol Memorials bill,” by Florida Politics’ Gray Rohrer

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STOPPING BY — “Bill Barr calls Trump’s Jan. 6 actions ‘irresponsible,’ says he is impressed by DeSantis,” by Palm Beach Post’s Stephany Matat: “Former Attorney General William Barr sided with former Vice President Mike Pence in the widening dispute with his erstwhile boss, former President Trump. Speaking to the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, Barr said Pence had no other course of action on Jan. 6, 2021, other than count the electoral votes officially electing Joe Biden as president. Trump, insisting otherwise, is acting in an ‘irresponsible’ manner.

Praise “Barr did not endorse any of the official or potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates, but he offered a nod to DeSantis in saying he was ‘very impressed’ with the governor’s handling of the pandemic in Florida. He said the party needed a ‘new face’ with a ‘definitive victory.’ ‘That means someone who can unite the party and someone who is sufficiently substantive and an effective governor,’ Barr said.”

Judge says Pence must testify to Jan. 6 grand jury, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney

— “How big is Trump’s true-believer base?” by Washington Post’s Aaron Blake

— “Trump makes a big move in the Granite State,” by POLITICO’s Lisa Kashinsky

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ON THE RISE — “The education of Byron Donalds, the right-wing fringe’s newest star,” by The New Republic’s Laura Jedeed: “[Rep. Byron Donalds] stood alongside his wife, Erika, who told an audience of perhaps 150 people the story of their middle child, Darin, who did not do well in traditional school but now thrives at a small private school able to give him the individualized attention he needs. ‘In the United States today, [school choice] is frankly only preserved for the rich and people in the upper middle class,’ Byron Donalds commented. The Donaldses’ policy prescription—get involved with your school board, promote school vouchers—fit with the themes of the conference. The social justice argument did not.”

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., departs after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Friday, March 3, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Pin

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., departs after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Friday, March 3, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) | AP


REMOVE APP? — “Florida OKs emergency move allowing TikTok ban at all universities,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Divya Kumar: “A state education panel approved an emergency regulation Tuesday that paves the way for Florida to ban the TikTok app on public university campuses across the state. The move by a committee of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, follows growing calls for a national ban of the app over security concerns. It gives system chancellor Ray Rodrigues the ability to implement a statewide ban ‘at his discretion’ and ‘as soon as practicable.’”

TO COURT — “Residents of historically Black town sue to stop land sale,” by The Associated Press’ Mike Schneider: “One of the first historically Black towns in the U.S. is suing the local school board to stop the sale of land that is tied up with Florida’s legacy of racial segregation decades ago and the state’s fast-paced growth nowadays. An association dedicated to the preservation of the town of Eatonville’s cultural history last Friday sued the Orange County School Board in an effort to stop the sale of the 100-acre property where the Robert Hungerford Preparatory High School once stood.”

— “Jacksonville continues settlement negotiations in redistricting case, appeals cost rise,” by Florida Times-Union’s Hanna Holthaus and David Bauerlein

— “‘This Book is Gay’ is banned at Hillsborough County middle schools,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Jeffrey S. Solochek

— “Bids top $1 billion for Miami waterfront land where Genting wanted to buy casino,” by Miami Herald’s Andres Viglucci

— “Broward school board rejects abstinence-based sex ed plan,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Scott Travis

— “USF employee faces firing after her arrest in protest over diversity cuts,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Divya Kumar

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— “Visitors flock to see David sculpture after Florida uproar,” by Associated Press’ Trisha Thomas: “Visitors flocked to see Michelangelo’s David sculpture in Florence on Tuesday, following an uproar over a Florida school’s decision to force the resignation of the principal over complaints about a lesson featuring the Renaissance masterpiece. Tourists, many of them Americans on spring break or studying abroad, posed for selfies in front of the giant marble statue, which features the Biblical David, naked with a sling over his shoulder and a rock in his hand, ready for battle with Goliath.”

BIRTHDAYS: Tina Cummings Grier, executive assistant to president/CEO at Florida TaxWatch

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