The Florida Legislature on Friday passed a bill that would allow the state's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, to stay in office during a potential presidential campaign.
The bill passed the state House along 76-34 party lines, after previously moving through the Senate along a similarly partisan margin, The Hill reported. The bill will now make its way to DeSantis' desk, where he is expected to sign it into law.
The state's current law mandates that any Floridian running for public office must step down from their current position once they declare their candidacy. However, this new law carves out an exception for officials running for president or vice president. While DeSantis has not yet announced his presidential campaign, he is widely expected to run, with this bill being perhaps the clearest indication yet.
Despite backlash from Democrats in the Florida Legislature, Republicans have said that the bill was not designed around DeSantis and serves only to clarify the laws. This is because the presidency is an individual office that is unique. It is the chief executive of our country," state Rep. Ralph Massullo (R) said during debate, per The Hill. "This isn't just for our governor. It's for anyone in politics."
However, Democrats, like state Rep. Angela Nixon, said the legislature was "doing the governor's bidding," adding, "Last time I checked, being governor is a full-time job. Running for president takes a lot of work."
The proposed revisions to Florida's "resign-to-run" laws were put forth just days before the bill's passage. This marks the third straight year that Florida's Republican-led legislature, with supermajorities in both chambers, has pushed through changes to the state's election laws, Politico reported.
In addition to the candidacy exception, this new bill also creates provisions that would make it more difficult for voters to use mail-in ballots, which Democrats have argued amount to voter-suppression tactics.