First Read

Who's on 'first': the Legislature or Gov. DeSantis? Daniel Perez knows

On a line in his speech that the Legislature is the 'first branch of government,' Perez said: 'I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it is not a message to the governor.'

Florida House Media

Florida House Speaker-designate Daniel Perez caused a wee bit of buzz in the Capitol on Monday during his acceptance speech when he called the Legislature “the first branch of government.” Perez, a Miami-Dade Republican, is now set to take over the chamber for the two years after the 2024 election, succeeding Palm Coast’s Paul Renner. 

“In designing this American system, (the Founding Fathers) believed that the legislative power should be the first branch of government,” Perez said. “They believed that the great issues of the day should be debated in a deliberative body directly connected to the people. … Congress has obviously failed to live up to that ideal, but I don’t think we need to follow their example.”

The Legislature recently has been a compliant branch of government under Gov. Ron DeSantis, generally giving him what he’s wanted – including a change to the state’s resign-to-run law that cleared the way for his presidential candidacy. Speaking later with reporters, Perez was asked by Politico’s Gary Fineout whether he was sending a message to the governor about the House being more independent under his leadership. 

“It's not a message to the governor,” he said, giving DeSantis credit for the state’s successes. “... Granted, the legislature, in my opinion, is the most important part … (but) the legislature can't work alone. The legislature works with the governor; it's been like that since the beginning of statehood. So Gary, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it is not a message to the governor.”

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