Florida Democrats fight back after end of the legislative session

Sarah Parker preparing to speak. By Josh Holton/WMNF (5/7/23)

Hundreds of protesters marched in Tampa this Sunday to protest of some of the many controversial bills passed during the Florida legislative session. Many organizations are standing up against legislation that they say makes the state more dangerous and less free for Floridians.

The recently completed legislative session included bans on gender affirming care for minors, limits on diversity initiatives at universities, and attacks on Disney. Florida Democrats came out to say they are fighting back. Democratic State House Representative Dianne Hart said the new law to limit abortions after the 6th week of pregnancy might only be the beginning if DeSantis has his way.

“You think six weeks is bad? Next year we’ll be looking at zero! To ban abortions altogether. Next year you’ll be looking at open carry; put your gun on your hip and don’t worry about it. You don’t need a permit, so everybody will be armed. You all saw what happened yesterday.”

Only a day earlier a shooter killed 8 and wounded 7 people in Allen, Texas, prompting President Biden to urge an assault weapons ban. But DeSantis signed a law in April eliminating the need for Floridians to acquire a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried was arrested in April for joining a protest against the 6-week abortion ban, saying these issues are important to all people.

“These are issues that transcend partisan politics, but we are the ones, Democrats, who are going to fight back and make sure that the people are represented.”

Sarah Parker is the president of Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida and was one of 10 others arrested in April for protesting the abortion ban.

“We did not expect Senator Book and Nikki Fried to get arrested. They didn’t expect him to throw oxygen on the ember that we call the Democratic Party. They did not expect activists, Gen Z, and Millennials, to now sit at that table. And we are doing it. We are going to be Ron DeSantis’ worst nightmare.”

According to the Florida Division of Elections fewer than half of state registered Democratic Party members voted in 2022, so Parker called on organizers to work to redefine the state Democratic Party and encourage greater turnout in the next election. For WMNF News I’m Josh Holton.

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