Breakfast bites: Senate takes action on Disney district; Death penalty for child rapists; DeSantis in D.C. and more…

by | Apr 19, 2023

Senate files proposal to undo Disney hijinx on Reedy Creek

Gov. Ron DeSantis reignited a dispute with Walt Disney Co., leading to a Senate committee considering a proposal to undo an agreement between Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District board. This conflict stems from Disney’s opposition to a law restricting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. The Reedy Creek Improvement District, created in 1967, granted Disney authority over land use and other local government responsibilities. In February, the legislature passed a DeSantis-backed bill replacing the Reedy Creek board with a governor-appointed board. Sen. Blaise Ingoglia’s amendment aims to prevent the new board from complying with the development agreement reached by the former board.

Death penalty approved for child rapists

Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow the death penalty for those convicted of sexually abusing children under the age of 12. The move is seen as a direct challenge to a 2008 US Supreme Court decision that barred the death penalty for people who rape children. The legislation requires the recommendations of at least eight of 12 jurors to impose the death penalty, but judges would have discretion to impose life in prison instead. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill, which is seen by some lawmakers as a vehicle to challenge legal precedents blocking the execution of child rapists.

DeSantis courts D.C. officials

Florida’s governor made a trip to Washington D.C., where he met with Republican lawmakers and attended an event hosted by U.S. Reps. Chip Roy from Texas and Thomas Massie from Kentucky. However, his visit was seen as an attempt to shore up support in the face of a growing number of endorsements for former President Donald Trump from Republican lawmakers, including some from Florida’s congressional delegation. DeSantis has not yet declared if he will run for president in 2024, but some lawmakers who saw him in Washington said he alluded to a future campaign in his remarks.

Four finalists for FGCU presidency

Florida Gulf Coast University is holding forums with four finalists to replace President Mike Martin, who is retiring. The first candidate to answer questions was Henry Mack, a senior chancellor at the state Department of Education. During the three-hour-long forums, Mack answered questions about hot-button issues in higher education, such as academic freedom and diversity. Mack described himself as an “innovator, a disruptor, and a relationship builder” and pointed to his knowledge of the Legislature as a factor that would separate him from the other finalists. The other finalists,  Aysegul Timur, Neil J. MacKinnon, and Jay Morgan, will participate in question-and-answer sessions over the next week.


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