DeSantis Signs a Host of Conservative Bills Ahead of Reported 2024 Bid

The Florida governor seems eager to appeal to the Republican voter base, which still favors Trump as the 2024 presidential candidate.

By Joanna Button

What’s going on: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to announce his presidential campaign this week. In the past month, he has signed numerous conservative bills into law and held speeches in various states, possibly in an attempt to appeal to Republican voters ahead of a bid for the presidency.

Some of the legislation DeSantis recently signed includes:

  • On trans issues: Gender transition procedures for minors and drag shows in front of children are now banned. Classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation is banned until eighth grade, and trans people must use restrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their biological sex.

  • Other social issues: In April, DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban (with exceptions for rape and incest) and legalized concealed carry without a permit. Another measure will defund diversity and equity programs at state colleges and universities.

  • Health care: Physicians can now decline to provide care (excluding emergency services) to patients based on their moral or religious beliefs, and another measure prohibits COVID-related mandates imposed by governments or businesses.

  • Immigration and trafficking: Four bills crack down on human trafficking, and new immigration legislation makes it harder for businesses to hire illegal immigrants and limits illegal immigrants’ access to social services.

Political strategy: For months, DeSantis has avoided questions about a presidential campaign and largely ignored Republican candidate Donald Trump’s jabs at him. Now, he is angling further right than Trump on certain cultural issues, presumably to win over Trump supporters. Recent polls show Republicans favor Trump over DeSantis by a large margin.