Breakfast bites: GOP voter advantage keeps growing; Education voucher program proving popular; and more…

by | Jul 18, 2023

Easily digested news nuggets from around the Sunshine State

GOP voter advantage keeps growing, up another 45k over last month

The Republican Party of Florida in June continued to expand its voter-registration advantage over the Florida Democratic Party. The GOP had 5,263,269 registered voters as of June 30, while the Democratic Party had 4,721,471, according to newly posted data on the state Division of Elections website. That 541,798-voter edge was up from a 496,150-voter advantage at the end of May. Meanwhile, 3,911,131 voters were registered without party affiliation as of June 30, while 286,493 were registered with third parties. Democrats historically held a registration edge in the state, but Republicans overtook them in 2021 and have steadily expanded the lead. Republicans hold all statewide offices, a majority in Florida’s congressional delegation and supermajorities in the Florida House and Senate. (Source: News Service of Florida)

DeSantis executive privilege challenged in court

A broad coalition of media organizations and open-government advocacy groups have urged an appeals court to reject claims of “executive privilege” by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration, arguing that it would undermine the state’s public-records law. Two friend-of-the-court briefs were filed by a coalition of media organizations and groups, emphasizing that courts should not create exemptions to the constitutional right of access to public records. The case arose when an anonymous requester sought information about the process of appointing Florida Supreme Court justices and was denied access to records. The circuit judge’s decision to support executive privilege has garnered significant attention, prompting media organizations and advocacy groups to challenge the ruling.

Appeals court will take on Florida’s controversial age-based gun ownership law

A full federal appeals court will revisit a legal battle concerning a 2018 Florida law that prohibits the sale of rifles and other long guns to individuals under 21 years old. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous decision by a three-judge panel that upheld the law’s constitutionality and announced that the case will be reheard by the entire court. The National Rifle Association (NRA) challenged the law’s constitutionality and requested a rehearing. The law was enacted following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a 19-year-old used an AR-15 rifle to kill 17 people. The panel’s ruling relied on a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that emphasized the need for gun laws to align with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. The NRA filed a motion seeking a rehearing by the full court, stating that denying law-abiding citizens their Second Amendment rights based on age raises an important constitutional question. The recent order did not specify a date for arguments. The Florida Legislature had previously debated modifying the law, with the House passing a bill allowing people under 21 to purchase rifles and long guns, but the Senate did not address the issue.

Vouchers proving popular after passage of universal access law

Florida is poised during the coming school year to see an increase in students receiving state-backed vouchers that can be used for such things as private-school tuition, after the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a massive expansion this spring. As of Friday, 240,291 vouchers had been awarded to students across the Florida Tax Credit and Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options voucher programs, compared to 173,416 vouchers awarded through the programs at the same time last year, according to Step Up for Students, a non-profit organization that helps administer voucher programs. For students with special needs, who are served by the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities program, 68,379 vouchers had been provided since the beginning of the year. Through the same period last year, 55,843 vouchers had been awarded. DeSantis in March signed a bill (HB 1) that, in part, eliminated income-eligibility requirements for families seeking vouchers. (Source: News Service of Florida)

Two states removed from banned driver license list

Vermont and Rhode Island have been removed from Florida’s list of states with invalid driver’s licenses under a new law targeting undocumented immigrants. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles removed the two states after Vermont’s deputy commissioner of motor vehicles clarified that their “Driver Privilege Card” is not exclusively issued to those without legal presence in the United States. Rhode Island was removed for a similar reason earlier. The list was initially announced by the governor’s office as a response to the Biden administration’s immigration policies. The new Florida law includes stricter requirements on businesses to verify workers’ immigration status and collecting data on the legal status of hospital patients. Connecticut, Delaware and Hawaii are the three states that have certain driver licenses still banned in Florida.



  1. MH/Duuuval

    “… Step Up for Students, a non-profit organization that helps administer voucher programs.”

    This is a partisan business enterprise whose principals have profited massively from the GOP siphoning off education monies from the public in Florida. The more vouchers, the more money SUS pays its principal players, who are deeply engaged in lobbying on behalf of vouchers.

    A prime example — if anyone needed another one — of how the Trump-DeSantis gang skims off money for individuals who then return the favor with campaign contributions.

  2. Rusty22

    “siphoning off education monies from the public in Florida.” ….. From the public, or from the teacher unions? Vouchers are $s the state was going to spend on a child anyway, just redirected to the school of thier choice. With the explosion of people moving to Fl, vouchers are cost effective rather than spending to build more schools and hire more personnel. AND, an effective way to get children away from any school system that is grooming children. We love our public school, and not moving our children. We look forward to smaller class size and maybe getting rid of some portable classrooms.

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