At the end of every week, we praise a political playmaker, “swipe left” on the week’s biggest political loser, and explain what it all means for Florida’s political arena.
👍🏆 CHAMP: Florida State Senator Kelli Stargel
For more than a year, State Senator Kelli Stargel shepherded a politically explosive bill through the treacherous, political minefield of the Florida Legislature. The bill required abortion providers to obtain parental consent prior to performing an abortion on a minor child.
Her first effort, launched during the 2019 Legislative Session, and co-sponsored by State Representative Erin Grall, attracted all the usual attention from both sides of the abortion debate, even though the proposal was focused more on parental rights than the act of abortion itself. Ultimately, the bill faded away before ever making it out of the legislature. But that didn’t stop Stargel, or Grall.
Last fall, the pair re-filed their proposals. Stargel’s version was ultimately adopted by the Florida Senate, and earlier this week, the Florida House. But not without a fight. The pair fought off dozens of amendment attempts by abortion-rights Democrats.
It will soon be transmitted to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, who has already indicated in his State of the State speech in January that he would sign the bill.
As one political operative put it: “This bill just makes sense. High school kids can’t go on a field trip without a permission slip signed by their parents. The school can’t even hand out aspirin unless a parent gives consent. And yet pro-abortion Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to make the case that a scared, vulnerable teenager should be allowed to abort a pregnancy without her parents being part of that decision process. Abortion rights activists have warped the argument so radically that they can’t even recognize common sense when it stares them in the face.”
Which brings us to this week’s Chump of the Week…
👎❌ CHUMP: State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen
One thing you never want to do when you’re running for U.S. Congress in a Republican primary in one of Florida’s most conservative congressional districts: cast a vote that the GOP base isn’t going to like.
That’s exactly what State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen did this week when she voted against legislation requiring abortion clinics to get parental consent before providing services to a minor. The vote alone was almost enough to put her in the running for Chump of the Week, given the proposal’s common sense approach to parental rights. But Fitzenhagen’s vote was cast against the backdrop of her campaign to replace U.S. Representative Francis Rooney in Congress.
The move instantly gives her opponents, State Reps. Dane Eagle and Byron Donalds, another leg up in the primary contest.