Republican lawmakers in Florida on Tuesday approved a bill that would shield the travel records of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state leaders from public disclosure.
The bill, which passed the Florida House along a party-line vote of 84-31 after clearing the Senate last month, would exempt the travel history of the state’s governor and their immediate family, the lieutenant governor, Cabinet members, Senate president, House speaker and the state Supreme Court’s chief justice from public records laws.
While Republicans argued it is for the safety of the state leaders and law enforcement officials to keep the records from the public, Democrats have blasted the bill, saying it is intended to help DeSantis in his likely run for president.
Democrats argued that while the bill also shields information about where the governor went, it also blocks the disclosure of whom he met with and what for.
The passage of the bill comes as DeSantis has had a packed travel schedule in recent weeks, making national and international trips as he prepares for an expected White House bid.
On top of appearances in key nominating states in the Republican primary contest, DeSantis spent time in Israel, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom over the past week, moves that signal he could be trying to sharpen his foreign policy bonafides before officially entering the presidential contest.
DeSantis said this week he did not propose the bill, claiming it was instead prompted by security concerns for leaders in the state.
“With the security situation, how you do patterns of movements if you’re somebody that is targeted — which unfortunately I am, and I get a lot of threats — that could be something that could be helpful for people that may not want to do good things,” DeSantis said at a press conference for bill signings on Monday.
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