JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State Address on Tuesday in the chamber of the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee.
The State of the State is an annual address the Governor of Florida delivers to a joint session of Florida’s legislature that outlines the governor’s vision and priorities for Florida.
Here is a summary of his address.
DeSantis spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic and everything the state has been through this past year.
"We thank the health care professionals throughout Florida who cared for those who became ill due to COVID," he said. " This includes frontline doctors and nurses, who provided top-notch care to hospitalized patients, as well as staff at long-term care facilities who worked tirelessly to protect our most vulnerable seniors."
He says cases and hospitalizations for seniors in Florida have plummeted as vaccinations have increased and since Jan. 30th, the number of seniors hospitalized for COVID has declined by 80%.
"We have long been known as the Sunshine State but, given the unprecedented lockdowns we have witnessed in other states, I think the Florida sun now serves as a beacon of light to those who yearn for freedom."
He said as we reflect on the loss of thousands of Floridians who have died with COVID, the state of Florida will be lowering the flags to half-staff on Wednesday.
In January unveiled his 2021-22 budget -- a recommended $96.6 billion, which is an increase of $4.3 billion over the current fiscal year.
DeSantis says the state's current fiscal outlook is much better than the bleak forecasts from last spring.
He said Florida is below the national average in unemployment and much lower than Texas, New York and California. DeSantis says he anticipates downward revisions of December’s unemployment numbers to reflect even stronger jobs numbers.
"Throughout the pandemic, Florida has not touched one red cent from our rainy day fund.," said DeSantis. "The bottom line is that we saved Florida’s economy and as a result our budget outlook is positive."
Law and Order
DeSantis said when riots broke out across the nation last year, we saw cities ruined by violent mobs.
"This was not – and must never be – tolerated in the state of Florida," he said. "Working with President Simpson, Speaker Sprowls and law enforcement groups across the state, we have proposed the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement reforms in the nation. "
The governor last fall announced legislation that would enact harsher penalties on those involved in violent protests. If passed, it would be illegal for protesters to block traffic and removes liability from drivers who injure or kill anyone if they're fleeing from a crowd.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis promised to crack down on "big tech" at a news conference last month.
DeSantis made it clear: Alleged censorship by big tech companies will be a priority this legislative session.
DeSantis hopes to "preserve Florida's rich discourse" by taking on companies looking to sell and censor information for financial and political gain.
"Floridians have a right to control their personal data and Big Tech should not be able to make billions of dollars off us without our informed consent," he said.
DeSantis praised the state's handling of the recent election saying "Florida ran perhaps the most transparent and efficient election in the nation in 2020."
He wants to make sure that private groups are not allowed to pour millions of dollars into the administration of our elections.
"That is a public function and should be done free from this type of private interference," he said.
(The video below was streamed live on Feb 9, 2021)