DeSantis signs bill to protect travel records citing security concerns.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed 37 bills into law on Thursday, which included measures to prevent the release of travel records of state leaders, requirements for school districts to share property-tax revenues with charter schools, and a provision for state inspections of Walt Disney World’s monorail system.
The bill preventing the release of travel records shields the travel itineraries of DeSantis, his immediate family, Cabinet members, the lieutenant governor, the House speaker, the Senate president, and the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court from public disclosure. Republicans argued that the bill would prevent individuals from being able to map out the travel plans of government officials, claiming it would enhance security. However, Democrats criticized the bill for going beyond travel itineraries and likely concealing information about what meetings and events state leaders attended and with whom.
Governor DeSantis has faced criticisms for travelling across the country while preparing for a potential 2024 presidential campaign and receiving threats from opponents. Anders Croy, the communication director of the opposition group DeSantis Watch, expressed skepticism about the bill’s signing in a tweet on Thursday. Croy said that this happened a day before DeSantis started his “political trips to Illinois (and) Iowa,” adding that it took place “amid reports of upcoming donor dinners at the Governor’s Mansion.”
Another educational bill signed into law requires school districts to share tax revenues with charter schools by factoring in their enrollment against overall district enrollment. Previously, charter schools mainly received funding through the state budget. Furthermore, the bill will provide charter schools with a new way of obtaining “capital outlay” funding to purchase land and facilities. House Speaker Paul Renner described the bill as a means of putting charters on “equal footing” with traditional public schools.
DeSantis also signed a bill requiring state inspections for Walt Disney World’s monorail system. This came amid a feud between the Governor and Disney. Last year, the company opposed a law that restricted the instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Disney, under the bill, will be subject to Department of Transportation compliance reports every three years and annual onsite evaluations. Previously, Disney and other large theme parks performed their safety inspections due to a carve-out from oversight by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Finally, DeSantis signed a bill named after Tyre Sampson, a 14-year-old who died after falling from an amusement ride in Orlando. The bill includes special training for ride operators and updated maintenance and ride modification reporting to enhance the safety of amusement rides.
The bills signed by Governor DeSantis come from a legislative session that ended last week.