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Exiled to Mar-a-Lago, Trump and his grievances drive Florida Legislature's agenda

Skyler Swisher, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Political News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — As they start their two-month session, Republicans in the Florida Legislature are seeking to address some of Donald Trump’s biggest grievances, showcasing that the former president’s political clout remains immense in his home state.

Trump’s favorite targets — Big Tech, China, antifa and election fraud — are also at the top of the agenda for the GOP-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

State lawmakers will consider bills imposing new regulations on social media companies, cracking down on rioting, targeting Chinese espionage and responding to Trump’s myth that voting shenanigans cost him the election.

Trump has inspired a new generation of Republican politicians who are looking to make their mark and boost their status with conservative voters, said state Rep. Evan Jenne, co-leader of House Democrats.

“A lot of it is, ‘Hey, look at me, I am the Trumpiest Trumper there could ever be,” the Dania Beach lawmaker said. “The deed for the Republican Party switched hands awhile ago and is completely in former President Trump’s possession.”

Here are some of the Trump-inspired items lawmakers will consider during the 60-day legislative session that starts Tuesday.

 

Voting changes: Despite Florida’s 2020 election getting good reviews from Democrats and Republicans, DeSantis wants to change voting laws. One of the most controversial proposals would make a voter’s mail-ballot request last for only one year instead of two. That would wipe away an advantage Democrats have in standing mail-ballot requests, potentially boosting DeSantis’ reelection chances in 2022.

DeSantis, a close Trump ally, wants to prohibit county election offices from accepting money from nonprofit organizations to conduct “get-out-the-vote” campaigns. He also wants to tighten regulations on mail ballot drop boxes and so-called “ballot harvesting,” where ballots are collected and dropped off at election offices.

Big Tech: Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms banished Trump. Now, Republicans are on a mission to stamp out what they consider to be a liberal bias in Big Tech that is silencing conservative voices.

One measure would require a month’s notice be given before a user’s account is suspended or deleted, while another proposal would fine tech companies $100,000 each day a statewide candidate’s account is blocked.

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