The Florida House approved a bill that is essential for Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to run a 2024 campaign. It now heads to his desk for his signature.
The bill passed on a party-line vote after passing the state Senate in a similar manner.
The bill would allow DeSantis to remain as governor while he conducts his national campaign for the presidency. While he hasn’t announced a campaign yet, he is expected to do so imminently.
Florida law currently states that anyone running for an office must step down from any position they currently hold once they officially become a candidate.
If DeSantis signs the new bill, it would carve out an exception for officials running for president or vice-president.
Democrats have criticized the bill for specifically protecting DeSantis, but Republicans in the state said it’s a necessary clarification for any Florida official.
“It is an individual office that is unique. It is the chief executive of our country,” state Representative Ralph Massullo (R) said. “This isn’t just for our governor. It’s for anyone in politics.”
State Representative Angela Nixon (D) said DeSantis should resign if he wants to run a presidential campaign.
“Last time I checked, being governor is a full-time job,” Nixon said. “Running for president takes a lot of work.”
The law also includes additional restrictions on mail-in ballots and requires voters to determine if they’re eligible to vote through them instead of the state.
Democrats derided the additions as voter suppression tactics that target minorities and the poor.
Republican lawmakers said they are necessary to streamline elections in the state and get rid of ambiguity.
“There is no more sacred thing than our vote,” Representative John Snyder (R) said. “It should be easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
The new voting restrictions would take effect on the first of July, but the provision that would allow DeSantis to run for president would kick in immediately upon his signature.