First Read

First Up: Is Florida resign-to-run law change on the way?

From the daily First Read email.

As news was breaking of former President Donald Trump’s indictment in Manhattan, what’s known as a “shell bill” (SPB 7050) in Florida was quietly filed. It posted to the Senate’s website at 6:08 p.m. Thursday by the Ethics and Elections Committee and was placed on its agenda for next Tuesday. The working title: “(PRELIMINARY DRAFT) An act relating to elections.”

The filing prompted a wave of speculation that it was the placeholder for a larger bill that would include a change to the state’s resign-to-run law to allow Gov. Ron DeSantis to run for president and not step down as governor.  It says only that the “Legislature intends to revise laws relating to elections,” and that the revisions would “take effect July 1, 2023.” 

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo told reporters Thursday night, when asked if a resign-to-run change would be in that bill, "I don't think so. We're still researching whether or not we really need it. We just haven't had time to do it. ... We're going to do that next." There has been some disagreement by legal experts about whether it even applies to DeSantis if he makes a bid for the White House, but legislative leaders have sounded willing to change the law – just in case. 

In December, House Speaker Paul Renner said, “I think we’ll look at that. … This is one area that, going back in history, we’ve been totally inconsistent on.” And Passidomo previously told reporters that “if an individual who is a Florida governor is running for president, I think he should be allowed to do it. … That’s an honor and a privilege. So it is a good idea.”

– Jim Rosica

This story was updated Friday afternoon. 

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