TAMPA, Fla. — This Week in Politics…several questions surround Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to fly Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the aviation company that serviced the first two flights and has now received more than $1.5 million from the state.
The Governor and the state are facing two lawsuits, one from a group of migrants who were flown to the Massachusetts island and a second one from State Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami).
Pizzo is requesting an injunction to prevent future flights from happening. He and other state leaders have been concerned about the legality of the flights given the migrants were in Texas, not Florida.
“A government entity or an agency may contract with a common carrier or private carrier solely for unauthorized aliens to be deported in conformance with federal law, working with the United States. No one’s been deported. They’ve been transported," Pizzo told 10 Tampa Bay.
The legislature approved a state budget that allotted $12 million for “implementing a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”
On Thursday while speaking in Miami, DeSantis doubled down on the state's relocation efforts saying, "There’s no way you could do this effectively, remember $12 million to relocate away from Florida into sanctuary jurisdictions so that’s just been the most effective way to do it."
DeSantis also addressed the state's $950,000 payment posted Monday to the same aviation company that transported migrants last week to Massachusetts.
"It’s not an expenditure, the money is there, and then as expenses are done, it will get drawn down, but that has not been put to use, necessarily, there’s a lot of other things that go on other than just the transport," the governor said.
A different lawsuit: Suspended Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren won't be returning to office, but his case against Gov. Ron DeSantis will be heading to trial, a federal judge ruled this week.
The August Primary was one month ago and after unsuccessfully seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has announced her future plans.
Fried posted a video on Twitter this week, launching "Won't Back Down," a new political committee aimed at getting a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024 to codify abortion rights in the state.
Meanwhile in the weeks following the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe V. Wade, several states, including Florida have seen more women registering to vote.
National Hispanic Heritage Month: We caught up with former Tampa mayor and Florida's first Hispanic Governor Bob Martinez to look back on his career in public office.