By Eric Daugherty
February 10th, 2021 Updated 12:45 P.M. ET
TALLAHASSEE (FCV) – Florida House Republicans are moving forward with the “Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund” bill (SB 98, CS/SB 96), which would give Governor Ron DeSantis (R) authority to use money from a dedicated emergency fund to respond to crises.
According to Florida State Representative Alex Andrade (R), House Democrats voted for a proposed amendment that would prevent DeSantis from using the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund to respond to various crises that may plague Florida.
According to the description of the bill, the bill would create “the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund within the Executive Office of the Governor.”
The proposed bill will authorize the Florida Governor to “transfer and expend moneys from the Emergency and Preparedness and Response Fund,” and will allow him to “request that additional funds be transferred or appropriated to the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.”
The bill was filed by Florida State Senator Danny Burgess (R) and has drawn the opposition of Democrats.
Conservative speculate that Democrat opposition to the bill may be because they support dependence on the federal government for disasters, rather than Florida being more independent in its responses to disasters.
If the bill were to fail, which due to Republican majorities in the Florida legislature is not likely, state legislators would have more control over what Florida’s emergency response to crises looks like.
Republicans question why Democrats oppose the bill, given their stark support for governors across the United States responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with unilateral and authoritarian actions like mask mandates and shuttering businesses.
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