Home News DeSantis dodges ‘heart beat’ abortion bill question, says he’s ‘ready’ for gun bill

DeSantis dodges ‘heart beat’ abortion bill question, says he’s ‘ready’ for gun bill

DeSantis dodges ‘heart beat’ abortion bill question, says he’s ‘ready’ for gun bill

Asked about a pair of hot topics during a press conference Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis dodged a question about whether he supports a “heart beat” abortion bill but said he’s “ready” for constitutional carry legislation expanding gun rights.

There is keen interest in what DeSantis will do next on abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court last June overturned the Roe v Wade decision protecting abortion rights.

The governor signed legislation this year outlawing abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but anti-abortion activists want him to go further, with many pushing for a “heart beat” bill that would ban abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heart beat can be detected.

In response to a question about whether he is willing to “take the lead” on a heart beat bill, DeSantis said Thursday that “I’m willing to sign great life legislation” but did not commit to the heart beat measure.

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The governor already is on record supporting constitutional carry legislation, which would allow people to carry guns in public without a concealed weapons permit. He reiterated his support for the proposal when asked about it Thursday, and then turned to state House Speaker Paul Renner to ask “are you guys gonna do it?”

“Yes,” Renner responded.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis calls on a journalist during a press conference, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Miami. DeSantis held a press conference in Fort Lauderdale Thursday to sign legislation cutting tolls for frequent toll road users and was asked about abortion and gun legislation. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Both guns and abortion are likely to be major topics of debate when the Florida Legislature convenes next year.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, repeated Thursday her view that lawmakers should not act further on abortion rights until the state Supreme Court rules on challenges to the 15-week limit, enacted earlier this year.

She said she’s disappointed that the 15-week law includes no exception for rape or incest. But Passidomo has said she would consider restricting most abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy, with these exceptions, since the overwhelming majority occur before that time.

“We can’t really do anything until the Supreme Court weighs in on the 15-week, as you know, it’s in litigation,” Passidomo said. “If the Supreme Court strikes it down, we start all over again. If the Supreme Court upholds it, then I know there will will be a myriad number of bills filed to reduce the 15-weeks to something less than that.”

Lawmakers met in special session this week to address Florida’s troubled property insurance market, and also passed a bill cutting tolls for frequent toll road users by $500 million. DeSantis signed the toll legislation Thursday during the press conference in Fort Lauderdale, and said he plans to sign the property insurance legislation Friday.

Critics of the property insurance bill say it doesn’t provide immediate relief to policyholders who have been hit with big rate increases, and instead is focused on helping insurers. DeSantis defended the legislation Thursday.

“I think what they did was really far reaching,” DeSantis said. “I think it’s going to have a positive impact.”


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