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Legislative priorities for 2021 from the Governor and leadership ranged from controversial political moves related to protests, voting, and transgender athletes, to environmental protection and mental health. House Bill (HB) 1 was one of the first bills of the 2021 session to be signed into law, and was priority number one for Governor DeSantis. The anti-riot bill intensifies penalties for “mob intimidation” and was strongly opposed by Democrats, with most Republicans in support of its goal to maintain law and order in the state following disorderly protests across the nation. Alongside public disorder legislation, the Governor pushed for updates to absentee voter regulations and Big Tech restrictions following events surrounding the recent election. Senator Baxley’s Senate Bill (SB) 90 implements several new requirements for mail-in voting in order to prevent fraud, including supervision of drop boxes and prevention of duplicate mail-in ballots. With the approval of SB 7072, social media platforms will be penalized for deplatforming, as in banning or restricting political candidates. The goal of the legislation is to prevent censorship and promote free speech, but it has received backlash in favor of social media platforms’ rights to remove users for violations of their policies. Some of DeSantis’s controversial priority pieces of legislation have drawn much opposition, of which several are expected to bring about questions of constitutionality/legality that will be hashed out over the coming weeks.
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