DeSantis Outlines Priorities In State Of The State Address

January 11, 2022

Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State addresses Tuesday to open the 2022 legislative session and outline his priorities while pushing Florida as a “free state”.

He pushed for a $1 billion break on gas tax for motorists, bonuses and increased pay for teachers, an “election integrity unit” to enforce elections laws, and Florida as a “law and order state”.

“We will not allow law enforcement to be defunded, bail to be eliminated, criminals to be prematurely released from prison or prosecutors to ignore the law,” the governor said. “These soft-on-crime policies have been tried in communities throughout the country to disastrous results: crime has skyrocketed, morale for police officers has plummeted and quality of life has been destroyed.”

He proposed alleviating the burden of higher gas prices on Floridians.

“I am proposing a $1 billion gas tax holiday to help reduce prices at the pump. If Washington, D.C., won’t change course, then we have a responsibility to step up on behalf of Floridians,” DeSantis said.

The complete text of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State Address is below (as prepared for delivery)”

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the Legislature and fellow citizens:

Together we have made Florida the freest state in these United States.

While so many around the country have consigned the people’s rights to the graveyard, Florida has stood as freedom’s vanguard.

In Florida, we have protected the right of our citizens to earn a living, provided our businesses with the ability to prosper, fought back against unconstitutional federal mandates and ensured our kids have the opportunity to thrive.

Florida has become the escape hatch for those chafing under authoritarian, arbitrary and seemingly never-ending mandates and restrictions.

Even today, across the nation we see students denied an education due to reckless, politically-motivated school closures, workers denied employment due to heavy-handed mandates and Americans denied freedoms due to a coercive biomedical apparatus.

These unprecedented policies have been as ineffective as they have been destructive. They are grounded more in blind adherence to Faucian declarations than they are in the constitutional traditions that are the foundation of free nations.

Florida is a free state. We reject the biomedical security state that curtails liberty, ruins livelihoods and divides society. And we will protect the rights of individuals to live their lives free from the yolk of restrictions and mandates.

Florida has stood strong as the rock of freedom. And upon this rock we must build Florida’s future.

We will, fortunately, be able to confront our challenges with an incredibly favorable budget outlook and strong economic performance that has withstood unfavorable national headwinds:

My recommended budget of $99.7 billion has more than $15 billion in reserve — one of the largest surpluses in state history.

Florida’s revenues have exceeded estimates by billions of dollars over the past year. December’s revenues came in at more than $500 million over the latest monthly estimate.

And this is all being done with no income tax and the lowest per capita tax burden in America.

Job creation in Florida is far exceeding the national average. And our labor force has increased six times faster than the nation’s.

Florida also leads the nation in business formations, which have increased by 61% since I took office in 2019. In 2021, Florida saw 114,000 more new businesses than second place California — even though California has a population that is 40% larger.

Freedom works. Our economy is the envy of the nation. And the state is well-prepared to withstand future economic turmoil.

Our nation is, though, facing economic problems stemming from reckless federal policies, especially the most sustained Inflation our country has witnessed in decades. The federal government has borrowed and printed unprecedented sums of money, and the bill is coming due.

Inflation is an invisible tax. It represents a pay cut for individuals and families alike. And one of the ways families have felt the pinch has been in significantly higher gas prices.

To help alleviate this burden for Florida families, I am proposing a $1 billion gas tax holiday to help reduce prices at the pump. If Washington, D.C., won’t change course, then we have a responsibility to step up on behalf of Floridians.

Education represents a major pillar of Florida’s future. I’m happy to note that Florida is again ranked number three for K-12 achievement in the latest Education Week Quality Counts rankings. We have worked hard to keep schools open, increase teacher compensation, promote workforce education and protect the rights of parents.

In pockets across America, schools are closing once again. These closures are enormously destructive and will not be tolerated in the state of Florida.

Florida has led the way in putting our kids first. In the summer of 2020, when it wasn’t fashionable, we made clear that kids needed to be in school. We faced opposition — from hysterical media, from unions and the politicians they control. We even faced lawsuits aiming to close the schools, but we wouldn’t allow fear or politics to harm our kids. We were right and they were wrong. And millions of families in Florida are better for it.

While it is important to embrace high academic standards and to measure student achievement, the FSA test is not the best way to do it. I am proposing the elimination of the FSA and replacing it with periodic progress monitoring. This will lead to meaningful feedback for parents and teachers and will reduce the amount of time dedicated to testing, leaving more time for learning. This reform will be better for students, teachers and parents, and it will help Florida remain a leader in education reform.

Over the past two years, we have increased the average minimum salary for teachers by more than $6,000. And last year, we provided $1,000 bonuses to every public school teacher and principal in the state.

Brittany Duquaine is a teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Pinellas County. She has benefitted from the bonuses and salary increases and the experience at Lakewood shows why this is important, as Brittany and her colleagues took the school from an F grade in 2019 to an A grade in 2021.

Let’s continue this progress by further increasing teacher pay and by approving $1,000 bonuses for a second year in a row.

Florida has enacted a Parents’ Bill of Rights and we reject the notion that parents shouldn’t have a say in what their kids learn in school. Indeed, Florida law should provide parents with the right to review the curriculum used in their children’s schools. We should provide parents with recourse so that state standards are enforced, such as Florida’s prohibition on infusing subjects with critical race theory in our classrooms.

Quisha King is a mother from Duval County who has joined moms all across Florida and America to speak out against divisive ideologies like CRT.

These moms are standing up for a principle that is the policy of the state of Florida: Our tax dollars should not be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other.

Florida’s public college and university system is ranked number one in the nation yet again. Higher education must remain affordable for Florida families. I will not support any tuition increases at Florida’s colleges and universities and I oppose cutting Bright Futures scholarships, which have benefitted many Florida families.

As proud as we are of the quality and affordability of Florida’s university system, a four-year education at a traditional brick-and-ivy school isn’t the only pathway to success. Over the past three years, Florida has added more than 50 new apprenticeship programs. The credentials earned through our workforce initiatives have paved the way for employment in a variety of fields like aviation, logistics and welding. These are as valuable and as honorable endeavors as attending august universities, and they deserve our support.

Florida’s dedicated focus on the skilled trades will help expand the state’s manufacturing footprint. We have already seen businesses move here from other states and we should also be actively encouraging businesses to repatriate production back to America from foreign countries. Do we really want our supply chains to be captive to the whims of a country such as Communist China?

Florida’s economic security is also linked to the stewardship of our natural resources.

We Floridians are heirs to a unique environment that makes our state the envy of the nation for fishing, boating and other outdoor activities. Three years ago, we promised bold action to safeguard Florida’s natural resources, improve water quality and restore the Everglades. With the support of the Legislature, especially Speaker Chris Sprowls and President Wilton Simpson, we have secured historic funding to support these efforts.

Since January 2019, 42 Everglades restoration projects have broken ground, hit a major milestone or finished construction, record funding has gone to conduct research and secure technologies to mitigate blue-green algae and red tide, and the state now has dedicated streams of revenue to promote coastal resiliency and water quality improvements.

We have even made enormous strides in removing invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades. In the gallery today is the reigning python king, Charlie Dachton, who caught a whopping 41 pythons in our 2021 statewide contest.

We resolved to leave our unique natural inheritance to God better than we found it, and we are fulfilling that pledge.

We also will continue to honor our commitment to safe communities.

Florida is a law and order state.

We will not allow law enforcement to be defunded, bail to be eliminated, criminals to be prematurely released from prison or prosecutors to ignore the law.

These soft-on-crime policies have been tried in communities throughout the country to disastrous results: crime has skyrocketed, morale for police officers has plummeted and quality of life has been destroyed.

We have stood by the men and women of law enforcement. Not only do we reject defunding law enforcement — we enacted $1,000 bonuses for all police, fire and EMTs in Florida. I’m asking the Legislature to re-up these bonuses for another year. They deserve it.

Serving in law enforcement is a noble calling and we will not allow our officers to be smeared by reckless politicians and corporate media. My proposals to increase pay for state law enforcement by up to 25% and to provide $5,000 signing bonuses to law enforcement personnel who either transfer to or begin their careers in Florida will spark a tidal wave of qualified professionals seeking employment at agencies throughout the state.

I’m happy to be joined by Officer Yehuda Topper from the North Miami Beach Police Department, who moved from NYC and is the state’s first orthodox Jewish police officer.

Let there be no doubt to those who wear the uniform: the state of Florida stands with you!

Law and order requires strong borders. The crisis at the US-Mexico border over the past year has witnessed staggering illegal migration and a massive influx of narcotics like fentanyl. Rather than defend our sovereignty and enforce the border, the federal government has released hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to communities across the U.S., shipping them to Florida at alarming rates, including by sending clandestine flights in the dark of night.

As a state, we cannot be a party to what is effectively a massive human smuggling operation run by the federal government. Companies who are facilitating the movement of illegal aliens from the southern border to Florida should be held accountable, including by paying restitution to the state for all the costs they are imposing on our communities. I am also requesting funds so that when the feds dump illegal aliens in Florida, the state can re-route them to states that have sanctuary policies.

Florida should not be made to bear the burden of our federal government’s lawless open border policies.

The rule of law also means that our citizens have the ability to participate in elections that are secure and transparent.

It is Orwellian doublespeak to invoke the concept of “Voting rights” to mean ballot harvesting, prohibiting voter ID and taxpayer funding of elections. Those are political concepts that erode the integrity of our elections.

Ballot harvesting has no place in Florida and we need to increase the penalties for those who do it. We also need to ensure that supervisors clean the voter rolls, that only citizens are registered to vote and that mail ballots only go to those who actually request them before each individual election.

To ensure that elections are conducted in accordance with the rule of law, I have proposed an election integrity unit whose sole focus will be the enforcement of Florida’s election laws. This will facilitate the faithful enforcement of election laws and will provide Floridians with the confidence that their vote will count.

Our constitutional rights have been under assault on a number of fronts and Florida has stood tall in defending the rights of its people.

A free society requires the ability to have robust discussions about issues of public importance, yet today Big Tech companies have used their platforms to elevate preferred narratives and to stifle dissent, serving as a de facto council of censors. Florida was the first state to legislate protections for its citizens and we should build on this success.

These same companies make a fortune by selling user data. Floridians should not have their data utilized by Big Tech without providing affirmative consent and I urge the Legislature to enact protections for the data privacy of all Floridians.

I also recommend that the Legislature strengthen protections for Floridians’ 2nd Amendment rights. These important rights should not depend on the whims of politicians who reject the existence of those rights.

Finally, we have an opportunity to strengthen protections for the right to life, without which the other rights mean little.

Protecting life does not end with the unborn. It must also include continued efforts to promote adoption and foster care so that all Floridians have a fair chance in life. Florida has 4,000 more licensed caregivers than in 2019 and I am proposing additional funds for foster parents in next year’s budget.

Nobody has done more to support Florida’s children than our First Lady, whose Pathway to Prosperity program has served more than 17,000 families in need through a collaboration between DCF and the faith community.

On behalf of our family, I want to personally thank everyone who has sent prayers and well-wishes for her recovery from breast cancer. Casey is strong, resilient, and has a husband and three kids who love her dearly. 2022 is the year she will be cancer free!

Florida has understood how important it is to put our seniors first, and we have done that time and again over the past two years.

Most recently, we led the nation in raising awareness of and expanding access to monoclonal antibody treatments. This effort has kept thousands of seniors out of the hospital and has saved many lives.

Wally and Doris Cortese from Cape Coral are with us today. Wally is a WWII and Korean War veteran who has been married to Doris for 62 years. When they both contracted COVID-19, they utilized monoclonal treatments to make full recoveries. God bless you both.

On June 24, millions of Floridians were shocked to wake up the news of a catastrophic partial collapse at the Champlain Towers South condominium complex.

First responders rescued dozens of people from an adjoining tower and searched a massive pile of rubble for survivors for weeks.

Our first responders poured their heart and soul into the rescue efforts. Ray Jadallah is the assistant chief of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue who helped lead those efforts. We thank Ray and all the members of the Urban Search and Rescue Teams that worked tirelessly during those very difficult days.

The loss of the 98 victims who perished in the collapse has been devastating and incalculable.

One of the victims was 92 year old the Hilda Noriega, whose son, North Bay Village Chief of Police Carlos Noriega, and grandchildren are with us today. Hilda was the matriarch of an amazing family and is dearly missed by those who knew her.

The grief and anguish endured by the Noriega family and the other Surfside families has been overwhelming, and reminds us that:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed.”

Our state should provide support for an appropriate memorial so that future generations will never forget the legacies of the victims of that terrible event.

The Surfside tragedy reminds us that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t take anything for granted and make the most out of each and every day.

We have sixty days to work together to build upon our rock of freedom. Lost time is never found again. Seize the moment. And be thankful that God has blessed us to live and serve in America’s liberty outpost, the free state of Florida!

Comments

33 Responses to “DeSantis Outlines Priorities In State Of The State Address”

  1. FaithinUS on January 15th, 2022 10:25 am

    Standing up there badmouthing the same federal government that provided funding for most of the things he’s crowing about. Typical right-wing double-speak.
    And God forbid our kids should learn any of the history of the USA that offends a few parents’ fragile egos. It’s disturbing that DeSantis demands educators to just sweep (back) under the rug any topic that might cause some white people discomfort by acknowledging the way things were, and in certain spaces, still are.
    Notably, heard not a peep about doing anything to prevent building collapses like the one that killed all those people in Surfside last year. That would require regulating and holding “job creators” accountable, and we cannot have that! FREEDUMS!!!

  2. uncle rico on January 14th, 2022 10:46 pm

    one side has shifted to the middle and the other side has gone off the deep end!

  3. Bob on January 14th, 2022 5:46 pm

    @Stumpknocker

    I’d like to see kids back in schools if it could be done safely.

    I understand that there is a difference between “public” and “private” schools. DeSantis has decided that public schools, like the ones our kids go to, legally cannot enforce mask or vaccine mandates, while private schools, like the ones his kids go to, can. Our families are the ones who are being put at risk, but that doesn’t matter as long as his kids are safe, right?

    And people wonder why teachers in Florida are quitting in droves.

    I have no love of the DNC, but at least they’re not the ones running around telling people to drink their own urine, eat anti-parasitic drugs, and inject thems loves with Clorox. If you don’t want to be banned from a platform for spreading dangerous misinformation that will get people killed, then maybe don’t spread dangerous misinformation that will get people killed?

  4. Bruce on January 14th, 2022 10:29 am

    Hitler Jr.? Really. Go back and study Hitler because those of you who refer to him as that are really stupid or insane. As a lot of people stated, if you don’t like it here in Florida than leave.

  5. Stumpknocker on January 14th, 2022 1:02 am

    @Bob your statement is absolutely foolish, the last thing our kids is remote learning, if you worked the streets or classrooms you would see for yourself the negative and mental effects it has on them. Social media did you say, big tech companies have nearly completely funded the democrat party, if a Republican post anything it’s taken down, why is it no democrats are band from these social media outlets? Please don’t try and convince any of us they also don’t post controversial topics, that also would be foolish. There’s a difference between private schools and public schools please educate yourself on the difference.

  6. John Doe on January 13th, 2022 2:20 pm

    Please run for President, Ron? So we can be rid of you, and I can watch you lose.

  7. Bob on January 12th, 2022 11:59 pm

    DeSantis suspended in-person meetings in his offices to reduce the spread of COVID, but will not allow schools to go remote.

    He will not allow schools to enforce vaccine mandates, except for private schools like the one his children attend.

    He calls foul when people are suspended from social media for blatantly lying or spreading misinformation (including misinformation that can easily get people killed) but has no issues sending his goon squad to harass a data analyst and her family for making him look bad.

    Ron DeSantis is the definition of a dirty, corrupt politician. The fact that some people think that a sleazy, traitorous piece of garbage like him belongs in the White House is appalling.

  8. DESANTIS 2024 on January 12th, 2022 10:14 pm

    Definitely best governor ever… He has truly shined in these trying times…

  9. McDavid on January 12th, 2022 9:41 pm

    Best Governor in history. Only people I know personally that don’t like him are leaching off the government.

  10. P'cola on January 12th, 2022 9:03 pm

    Best Governor in the entire country!

    If you don’t agree I-10 ends in California and I-95 goes to New York. Happy trails!

  11. Wizard on January 12th, 2022 8:20 pm

    Brainwashed

  12. Weareblessed on January 12th, 2022 4:31 pm

    We are blessed to have a Christian conservative Governor that truly cares about our great state. Thank you Governor DeSantis for your service to the flag of State of Florida as well as your service to the great Flag of the United States of America. I sincerely hope you will take another term as our state’s Governor before looking to be a great candidate for the Presidency. I would vote for you in 2024 regardless but would certainly hate to lose your leadership in Florida just yet. God Bless you and your family, Governor!

  13. Mike on January 12th, 2022 12:09 pm

    Great speech, Florida is very lucky to have DeSantis as Governor.

  14. nurse on January 12th, 2022 11:42 am

    Is there any money in state budget to purchase the Garcon Point Bridge and reduce or eliminate tolls Photo op and victory lap July of last year how about an update

  15. ensley boy on January 12th, 2022 10:29 am

    Sure was a lot of left wing democrats commenting today. Thank you Gov DeSantis for the job you are doing.

  16. Power to the people on January 12th, 2022 10:19 am

    I am so glad God sent Desantis to be our Governor to stop the Federal Government from telling the states how to run things so he could tell local governments what they can and cannot mandate himself.

  17. Susie on January 12th, 2022 10:11 am

    My sentiments exactly, EMD, Willene and Preston Bryan. Well said! Greatest Governor we’ve had in years.

  18. Trish on January 12th, 2022 9:54 am

    Best Governor Florida has ever had. Thank you Sir for standing up for the citizens of this State.

  19. Josh Jones on January 12th, 2022 9:45 am

    “The federal government has borrowed and printed unprecedented sums of money, and the bill is coming due.”

    But not a word of thanks to the Federal government for the dollars it gave Florida. How is the governor proposing the $1 billion break on gas tax? He’s counting on Federal money to replace it.

    How did he raise teacher salaries? By using Federal money, that’s how. Same for law enforcement salary increases.

    Bottom line – it’s easy to spend money when it’s not yours. But don’t badmouth the hand that feeds you.

  20. SueB on January 12th, 2022 9:20 am

    Blah, Blah, Blah all you people who want this & that and are doing nothing but running your mouth. Move to California, Oregon, etc. If you think you can do better, then run for Governor. Fla Governor is not a Socialist DemocRAT like biden (who is not my president) wanting illegals to vote, paying illegals social security, feeding & housing illegals, defunding police & our military.

  21. Rasheed Jackson on January 12th, 2022 8:49 am

    DeSantis is the best mayor Florida has had in a long time. His handling of the pandemic has been the best in the nation. Our state did not follow draconian mandates that other states fell in line with, and we did not see our economy tank like many other states suffered from. He embraced therapeutic treatment for the virus, mainly the monoclonal antibody infusion. This treatment was not being push by the feds or the CDC. When Florida and Texas started seeing very positive results the President, Joe Biden, decided to limit the supply to both our state and Texas. So, for all you who are decrying DeSantis you need to think about where we would be had the meth-head Gillum been elected. The only thing I feel DeSantis should do is put a travel ban on people coming here from New York, New Jersey, California, and Illinois. The politician in these states love to point the finger at our state but where do their residents, and politicians come to vacation? Yep, the free state of Florida. I personally work with two individuals who moved here, one from Illinois, and one from California, because they were tired of the way their states were handling the pandemic. So, if you are not satisfied with our governor and his handling of things, move to a state that suits you.

  22. Get out on January 12th, 2022 7:59 am

    You crazy liberals moving here from elsewhere need to listen to the message, or take your broken communist agenda back to where you came from

  23. Well on January 12th, 2022 7:48 am

    If it’s not what you want in Florida then New York is looking for more sheep all the time.

  24. Retired disabled DeSantis supporting veteran on January 12th, 2022 7:37 am

    @Lucy
    What tax breaks do other states give veterans? Florida is a VERY veteran friendly state. Are you a veteran? What type of breaks should the Governor give? And to say Hitler Jr. shows your ignorance of history.

    @Bob
    How is he “trying to kill constituents”? By giving us the freedoms to decide rather than impose and enforce draconian mask and vaccine mandates that haven’t worked in other states where COVID is running as or more rampant?

    @dubz
    Who do you think would do better? The former mayor of Tallahassee? Charlie Crist who wasn’t effective at all when he was Gov?

    @Mike O’Farrell
    Please give me one example of “far right politics” that is guiding the Governor.

  25. Dan on January 12th, 2022 7:05 am

    Not one word about the rapidly failing prison system or raises for the staff but I guess when the national guard has to be called in maybe someone will realize there is a problem

  26. Mike O'Farrell on January 12th, 2022 6:48 am

    Far Right politics is his guiding light.

  27. dubz on January 12th, 2022 6:17 am

    Sorriest leader in Florida history. We deserve better.

  28. Larissa on January 12th, 2022 12:20 am

    Yay! It’s so nice to have a common sense politician!

  29. Lucy on January 11th, 2022 11:54 pm

    How about a tax break for your disabled veterans….. Ones who defended the country but yet get no break like other states gives their disabled veterans. Freaking moron if you ask me… Hitler Jr. in the making right here..

  30. Bob on January 11th, 2022 10:25 pm

    I can’t seem to make up my mind if DeSantis is an idiot, corrupt, or if a Floridia girl broke his heart when he was young and he has made it his life’s goal to kill as many of his constituents as possible.

    Florida deserves better than him.

  31. The Baggetts on January 11th, 2022 9:21 pm

    And this is how a real leader responds! Thank you, Gov. DeSantis, for keeping Florida going!

  32. Willene & Preston Bryan on January 11th, 2022 7:56 pm

    Thank you Governor Ron DeSantis. You are such a blessing to the State of Florida. Prayers also for your wife for God’s complete healing. God bless you.

  33. EMD on January 11th, 2022 4:39 pm

    Thank you over and over and over again. At least one sane voice in the aberrant noise all around us. You are God-sent and I thank Him. Be blessed Governor. Thank you so much for doing justice and speaking truth. A rare treasure now days.





Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) NorthEscambia.com reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.