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DeSantis and Florida GOP have destroying public education on their to-do list, but that's not all

Brexiter

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It’s a year when foolish ideas for new laws are being proposed—or worse yet, passed—by Republicans everywhere. This includes the GOP in Idaho fighting back against teaching kids math, a Republican lawmaker in Virginia insisting that kids should learn about the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, and an Indiana law that makes it illegal for corporations to microchip their employees. Republicans have been doing yeoman work when it comes to increasing the national surplus of facepalms.

But for anyone looking for a compendium of awful; for a single source that just boils down everything bad and pours it over a state in a stinky slurry of rotten ideas and poisonous policy, there’s only one place to look. As the Miami Herald reports, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-dominated state legislature have cooked up “the worst” ideas imaginable. That includes laws deliberately meant to “inflame racial anxieties, election lies and partisan anger.”

Just as an example of one of the bills being proposed, a new law would make it possible for both businesses and individuals to sue city and county governments over any regulation. That’s any regulation. Like, regulations that might require people to uphold building standards, or not building a high rise in a spot where it blocks the view of existing residents. All that someone has to do is show that the regulation could cost them money, and they can sue the local government to recover “damages.” It’s not called the Making Local Government Impossible Act. But it should be.

Many of the bills being put forward follow a similar scheme: allowing people to sue someone else for just about any reason under the Sunshine State. Overall, DeSantis seems out to make the state unlivable for almost everyone, but a heaven for civil attorneys.

What else is on DeSantis’ list of how to DeStroy a state?

Well, there was an executive order banning Republicans’ most popular 2021 bugaboo, critical race theory (CRT). Not one district in Florida was teaching CRT, but now they won’t be doing that even more.

However, DeSantis didn’t stop at banning teachers from teaching something they weren’t teaching. Because Florida is just one of several states where Republicans have proposed opening teachers and school librarians to lawsuits if they say anything or carry any book that someone else can construe as teaching CRT. This is a declaration of open season on educators and a backdoor attempt to completely destroy public education. While they were at it, Republicans also destroyed disability education in the state. It took them six minutes and just one speaker.

Why use CRT as an excuse to accomplish the long-held Republican goal of replacing public education with for-profit schools? In 2022, Republicans can use racism as their up-front excuse to cover their real motivations, because racism is now cool with Republican voters.

Also coming up in Florida, the legislature wants to extend the ban on teaching about America’s history of racism to colleges and universities. That should do wonders for the state’s academic environment. Considering the University of Florida already blocked professors from testifying in a lawsuit against DeSantis, don’t be surprised if they create a new Bull Connors chair of white studies.

If that’s not enough suing people, Florida Republicans have also proposed a law, modeled on the one from Texas, that would allow anyone to sue if they suspected a woman was trying to secure an abortion. Or if anyone was trying to provide an abortion. Or anyone who provided transportation to a possible abortion.

To rub an additional bucket of salt in public education’s wounds, another bill would take the currently nonpartisan races for local school boards and force them to be explicitly partisan. Currently, all candidates for school boards run together in a party-free pool. A new bill would force the candidates to declare association with a party to register as a school board candidate. The head of the Republican Party of Florida is the sponsor of this bill.

When it comes to promoting the Big Lie, DeSantis is also going all out. Despite repeated audits and investigations that turned up nothing—other than five residents at The Villages retirement community who doubled down on their votes for Trump—DeSantis is going to spend at least $5.7 million establishing an “Office of Election Crimes” with an initial staff of 45 investigators. The qualifications for investigating crimes that don’t exist haven’t been established, but it’s a good bet the best route to landing one of these “jobs” is nepotism.

Finally, DeSantis is pushing for something that Republicans in a number of states are also clamoring to get: a decrease in transparency. It’s not as if DeSantis hasn’t already done a bang-up job of altering statistics, hiding data, and scheming against the best interests of the state’s citizens, but he’d really like it if he didn’t have to work so hard.

You know. Like his Office of Election Crimes investigators.
 
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