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DeSantis spent millions of Florida funds to fight Disney's right of free speech.

Post # 319, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

He almost spent the equivalent of building a needed new school in Florida to deny a major Florida employer their right of free expression.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he is a conservative when it comes to spending public taxpayer dollars. Although we might argue about certain decisions he has made, one recently stood out when DeSantis agreed to settle the long and expensive litigation with one of Florida's largest employers--The Walt Disney Corporation in Orlando.

Let's look at the issue. In 2022, DeSantis decided to propose legislation restricting free speech in Florida, prohibiting using the term "gay." Most legal advisers said the legislation would be an attack on free speech. At the time, DeSantis was running for President and most felt he was trying to emphasize his conservative roots by attacking people's gender. Disney, employing 50,000 Floridians, has a long history of supporting gender rights and objected to the legislation. DeSantis saw Disney's objection as an opportunity for free press and launched a verbal assault at Florida's largest private employer. Since Disney saw the legislation as a threat to its business, it filed suit. DeSantis had Florida file a countersuit and the expensive legal fight started.

DeSantis felt the litigation with Disney would help him in the race for President. Disney offered to settle the litigation many times because it was a deterrent to its business. DeSantis ignored a settlement and continued fanning the conservative flames in his campaign for president.

Last week, the litigation was settled and DeSantis claimed victory. But what about the cost of litigation for the taxpayers? Without any totals, Politico estimates that the litigation costs the taxpayers a minimum of $ 6.4 million. That is almost the equivalent of building a new school in Florida--all to deny a large Florida employer free speech in the state.

The conservative governor has had no response to the spending of our money.


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