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Tag: desantis

Florida Residents Sue DeSantis For Inflicting ‘Damage’ On Taxpayers

When Disney spoke out against Florida’s blatantly anti-gay and anti-trans “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis retaliated by ending the special tax/business arrangement that Disney has had in the Orlando area for 55 years. DeSantis’ act of revenge, according to some economists, will cause economic hardship for residents of Osceola County and Orange County — as those counties will have to absorb Disney’s bond debt and can expect to pay higher property taxes (possibly, 25 percent higher). And three residents of Central Florida have filed a lawsuit against the state because of the economic pain DeSantis is inflicting on them.

DeSantis is insisting that Disney will pay the bond debt, not property owners in Osceola County and Orange County. But the three Florida taxpayers who filed the lawsuit, one from Orange County and two from Osceola County, obviously don’t believe him. And their lawsuit challenges the Florida bill that was signed into law by DeSantis and ended the Reedy Creek Improvement District and dissolved Disney’s special tax/business arrangement with the Sunshine State.

“In a lawsuit filed in federal court,” ClickOrlando’s Christie Zizo reports in an article published on May 4, “the plaintiffs say the bill should be declared unconstitutional because it violates taxpayers’ federal constitutional rights, and say the bill will lead to ‘significant injury to taxpayers.’ (In April), the Florida Legislature passed a law dissolving six special districts in the state, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The RCID governs Disney property, handles utilities, fire and EMS services, writes permits and takes out bonds to finance infrastructure projects.”

Zizo adds, “The lawsuit cites media reports featuring experts and political officials who say RCID’s $1 billion to $2 billion in bond debt will have to be absorbed by local governments, along with the cost to maintain utilities, infrastructure and other services that the RCID provides the area. That could mean higher taxes for county residents without the approval of those residents, which the suit alleges is a violation of Florida’s taxpayer bill of rights.”

The lawsuit describes DeSantis’ actions against Disney as an act of revenge and specifically mentions the Parental Rights in Education Act of 2022, a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which will go into effect on July 1.

The lawsuit reads, “It is without question that defendant Governor DeSantis intended to punish Disney for a 1st Amendment protected ground of free speech. Defendant’s violation of Disney’s 1st Amendment rights, directly resulted in a violation of plaintiffs’ 14th Amendment rights to due process of law.”

DeSantis, who narrowly defeated Democratic nominee and former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial race, is up for reelection in the 2022 midterms —and polling from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Cherry Communications released in early April indicated that he is likely to be reelected. That poll found that in hypothetical head-to-head matchups, DeSantis enjoyed double-digit leads over his potential Democratic challengers, including Rep. Charlie Crist (a former Florida governor and ex-Republican), Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, and Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

DeSantis Vows To Eliminate Gun Permits And Background Checks In Florida

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed on April 29 that the state would "one day" have a permitless weapons carry law. "I'm pretty sure we can get it signed into law," he said during a news conference in the town of Williston, near Gainesville.

According to the Florida Phoenix, DeSantis said, "The legislature will get it done. I can't tell you if it's going to be next week, six months, but I can tell you that before I am done as governor, we will have a signature on that bill."

Permitless carry laws allow individuals to carry loaded, concealed handguns without a permit, background check, or firearms training. The Center for American Progress says in an FAQ on its website:

These laws reflect a relatively recent trend in which states are removing or weakening permitting standards for concealed carry.

On April 12, 2022, Georgia became the 25th state to enact legislation eliminating permit requirements for concealed carry and the 21st state to do so in the past seven years. Similar bills are pending in at least five state legislatures.

This movement toward permitless carry represents a massive step back for public safety and responsible gun ownership.

Under current Florida law, gun owners must be licensed, and the process of obtaining a permit includes required written proof of competency with a firearm.

In a report published in September 2021, the Center for American Progress noted that in Wisconsin, which in 2011 enacted a law allowing the concealed carrying of weapons after a permit to do so has been obtained, "an analysis of publicly available data from local agencies, the FBI, and other national databases suggests that the CCW law has led to negative consequences for safety in the state.

Three categories of violent gun-related crime have increased since its implementation: gun homicides, aggravated assaults that involve a gun, and gun-related homicides and assaults against law enforcement officers." The report concludes that "the overwhelming evidence out of Wisconsin is an important case study for why CCW laws are detrimental to public safety and why continued action on gun violence prevention remains critical."

CAP also found that "when Arizona repealed its concealed carry requirement in 2010, there was an 11 percent increase in gun injuries and deaths and a 24 percent increase in the probability that an individual involved in a violent crime would be fatally shot."

DeSantis, who is running for reelection, is pursuing a far-right political agenda that includes a host of bills affecting civil rights, including voter suppression and LGBTQ+ issues. In an op-ed published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel in March, historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat referred to the state as a "laboratory for autocracy," echoing the title of author and politician David Pepper's book "Laboratories of Autocracy," in which he argues that anti-democratic measures that threaten the U.S. system of government originate more and more in statehouses, not in the Congress.

Under Florida law, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is responsible for issuing concealed carry licenses. Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said in a statement on her website about DeSantis' vow to eliminate gun licenses:

This is absurd political pandering from the Governor of a state that has experienced some of the worst mass shootings in our country’s history and in a nation where we have the highest rates of gun violence in the world. It’s an insult the memories and families of every victim of gun violence. We should be passing laws to prevent gun violence and working to fix our state’s affordable housing crisis, not creating chaos to score political points.

Fried is one of six Democratic candidates hoping to win their party's nomination for governor in the November midterms. DeSantis faces challenger Joseph Mercadante in the Republican primary.

Fred Guttenberg voiced outrage at DeSantis' announcement over the weekend:

I have questions for @GovRonDeSantis from his announcement yesterday. With permitless open carry, how am I supposed to know who intends to kill. For example, how can I differentiate the intent of Ron DeSantis as opposed to a murderer like my daughter's killer? How will I know who intends to use the guns to kill verse those like you who only want to politicize that possibility? There is no way to know.

Guttenberg's daughter Jaime was shot to death on February 14, 2018, when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and wounding a further 17, in the deadliest high school shooting in the United States to date.

Florida ranks second in the number of mass shootings in any state since 1982, behind only California.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Why DeSantis Can’t Snatch Disney’s Special Tax District

For 55 years, Disney had a special tax/business arrangement in Florida. But that arrangement has been ended by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was determined to get back at Disney for voicing its opposition to the controversial Parental Rights in Education Act of 2022, a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” law. And according to Miami Herald reporter Mary Ellen Klas, Disney addressed its investors in a statement posted on April 21.

Disney, Klas reports, has told its investors “that it would continue to go about business as usual.”

Klas explains, “The statement, posted on the website of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board on April 21 by the Reedy Creek Improvement District, is the only public statement Disney has supplied since lawmakers unleashed their fury over the company’s vocal opposition to the Parental Rights in Education law, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. The statement, first reported by WESH 2, quotes the statute, which says, in part, that the ‘State of Florida pledges.... it will not limit or alter the rights of the District.... until all such bonds together with interest thereon.... are fully met and discharged.’”

In its April 21 statement, Disney writes, “In light of the State of Florida’s pledge to the District’s bondholders, Reedy Creek expects to explore its options while continuing its present operations, including levying and collecting its ad valorem taxes and collecting its utility revenues, paying debt service on its ad valorem tax bonds and utility revenue bonds, complying with its bond covenants and operating and maintaining its properties.’’


Attorney Jake Schumer has said that the State of Florida has a contractual obligation not to interfere with the Reedy Creek Improvement District until the bond debt is paid off. Schumer told the Herald that the State of Florida “simply can’t go forward under the contract clause” and “would have to pass something to address this.”

According to Klas, Scott Randolph — tax collector for Orange County, Florida — “agrees with Schumer that the only way for the state to dissolve Disney’s special district is for the debt to be assumed by the county government.”

Randolph told the Herald, “Orange County gets Reedy Creek’s assets, debts and obligations…. Unless they want to cut services and cut spending elsewhere, they’re going to have to find a way to absorb $163 million.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Endorse This: Randy Rainbow Won't Stop Saying Gay To Desantis (VIDEO)

Ater Florida governor-- and low-rent Donald Trump-- Ron DeSantis officially signed the christofascist “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, LGBTQ critics have been out in full force condemning both him and the state government for passing such blatantly homophobic legislation. Disney, for example, took a huge stand against the vile, right-wing hate and has vowed to fight to appeal the disgusting law

Comedian Randy Rainbow had some choice words for DeSantis in his latest parody in which Rainbow refused to stop saying “gay” so much, that he even titled the video “Gay!”

Rainbow launched into his parody — set to the tune of “Shy” by Mary Rodgers from her 1959 musical Once Upon a Mattress — and asserts his own gayness throughout the song, directly flying in the face of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill’s moniker.

Watch the segment below:


Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Wave Of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills Sweeping Across Red States

Republicans never let a terrible idea go to waste. If one Republican-controlled state passes a harmful law that will do violence to vulnerable people, it’s a virtual certainty that several other Republican-controlled states will follow suit. That’s how it’s been with the Texas abortion bounty hunter law, and it’s how it’s shaping up with Florida’s notorious “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Ohio and Louisiana Republicans are already considering their own versions of the Florida legislation, which prohibits teachers from talking about gender identity or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through third grade, and limits how those subjects can be discussed with older students. In Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he’ll make a similar bill a priority when the state legislature starts its next session in January. If he’s going to jump on board with every oppressive bill introduced in any state between now and January, the Texas legislature is going to have a lot to get done.

The thinking behind such bills “is that parents will be allowed to decide when they want their children to learn about LGBTQ+ issues instead of having the school talk about them at an age that may be too early or confusing,” Marissa Higgins explained about the Florida bill. “Mind you, there are undoubtedly LGBTQ+ children (and teachers, custodians, principals, parents, and so on) in every school in Florida right now. They might not be ‘out,’ they might not have the language yet, but they’re there. The only thing that comes from not talking about LGBTQ+ identity is that people lack knowledge, and down the road, may live with internalized queerphobia and feelings of confusion and self-hate. It doesn’t stop anyone from being queer to simply be silent about it.”

But silence—and the knowledge that you are seen as unacceptable or dirty that comes with enforced silence—is enough for Republicans.

A viral social media post exposed some gaps in the logic of the Florida law, enraging right-wing groups in the process:

Dear Florida parent/caretaker:
The Florida house of Representatives has recently ruled that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
To be in accordance with this policy, I will no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns. All students will be referred to as “The” or “them.” I will no longer use a gendered title such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on I will be using the non-gendered title “Mx.”
Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to a person being a “mother,” “Father,” “husband” or “wife” as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation. Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as “he” or “She” will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.
Thank you, Mx. XXXXXXXXXX

“Man” and “woman” are gender identities, guys. Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation. Florida Republicans—perhaps soon to be followed by Ohio and Louisiana ones—technically did ban those identifications as well. Because it wouldn’t occur to Republicans that what they think of as normal and right could fall under the category of “gender identity” or “sexual orientation.” They expect that everyone will know what they mean and fall in line because the very vagueness and broadness of the law is itself a threat.

Relatedly, the Ohio bill also contains familiar bans on teaching about race and racism, or, as it calls them, “divisive or inherently racist concepts.” Again, by being extremely vague and broad, it may limit speech even more than carefully written, highly specific language would do.

”I think it's probably by design, that they just want to instill fear, that if you wonder if something may or may not be considered controversial or considered divisive or considered illegal under this legislation, the safest bet is to just not talk about it at all. And that's the real harm that's caused because that deprives our students of a complete and honest education,” Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro told CNN.

That harm comes whether the concepts being banned are “trans people exist” or “racism exists.” And Republicans are dedicated to harming as many kids as possible.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Teacher’s Satirical Note On 'Don’t Say Gay' Enrages Right-Wing Outfit


The American conservative “advocates for parental rights in schools,” known as Moms for Liberty, have been busy working on making sure your children are protected from things like critical race theory (CRT), and any talk about gender identities (and LGBTQ+ stuff). Florida’s transphobic and homophobic and childhood-phobic conservatives scored a big legislative victory in March when state legislators were able to pass the “Don’t Say Gay” bill through into law. Its official name is the “Parental Rights in Education” bill and while it technically never mentions the word “gay,” the bill is a pretty obvious overreach into the rights of entire swathes of the American public. As such, lawsuits are already being filed against the Sunshine state.

Moms for Liberty’s Twitter account posted what they are calling a letter template for rebellious teachers to send home in regard to the new legal guidelines they are now forced to deal with as a result of the general pig-headed phobias of people like Moms for Liberty. Writing “A teacher in Palm Beach County, FL shared this template with us. It is being shared among teachers to use for grades K-3. How do you feel about this? What will you do when this arrives home in your child’s backpack? Time to take a Stand,” the letter is a little slice of genius, and the responses to this conservative freakout have been [takes a meditative breath] beautiful.

The letter serves to point out how, in its vague language, the bill’s authors have attempted to veil their bigotries and fears under the guise of parental rights. It does this by using the law’s truly banal purposes against the very parents who are pretending that this law isn’t very specifically about being homophobic and transphobic and queerphobic.

First the letter:

Dear Florida parent/caretaker:
The Florida house of Representatives has recently ruled that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

To be in accordance with this policy, I will no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns. All students will be referred to as “The” or “them.” I will no longer use a gendered title such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on I will be using the non-gendered title “Mx.”

Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to a person being a “mother,” “Father,” “husband” or “wife” as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation. Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as “he” or “She” will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.Thank you, Mx. XXXXXXXXXX

Whether this is a real “template” being handed out to teachers who see the don’t say gay bill for what it really is or if this is just one of those great memes that has truly pressed these “Moms for Liberty’s” buttons does not matter. Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, Fox News talking face, and precinct committeewoman for the Republican Party of Sarasota County retweeted the letter, writing, “Once again, it’s unfortunate our students and their education are being hijacked by the Left’s culture wars. Thank goodness more educators, many whom are parents of young children, are speaking up and pushing back!”

The responses have been wonderful:



And here’s a new one to me—but maybe it’s been around for a while.