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Breaking down latest with Disney vs. DeSantis, and Rep. Luna talks beach renourishment push | This Week in Politics

We're wrapping up all the political happenings in Florida this week.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — This Week in Politics…we are down to the wire — one week out from the end of Florida’s legislative session, meaning more bills will soon be piling up on the governor’s desk.

The one bill getting attention now could be on its way there as soon as Friday. The House is set to discuss a roughly 100-page elections bill, which now, notably contains an amendment that would revise/clarify the state’s “resign-to-run” law, paving the way for Governor Ron DeSantis to run for president without stepping down if he chooses to do so.

“Look, I am being a little selfish here. If Ron DeSantis, the governor, runs for president and doesn't win, he's done such a great job for Florida. I want him to stay around,” said State Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Saint Augustine) who proposed the amendment.

Democratic lawmakers pushed back against the proposal. “The governor of 23 million people is going to spend a year and a half going around this entire, huge country, and not govern the state,” said State Sen. Tina Polsky (D-Boca Raton).

The amendment is what a lot of people are talking about, but the bill would also change campaign finance deadlines, making reports less frequent, and it would also criminalize harassment of election workers and place more restrictions on voter registration groups.

In the meantime, lawmakers need to make sure the state keeps running, and they are in the thick of budget talks to finalize one before they wrap up the session.   

Tenant groups are closely watching a bill in the Senate that would scrap local tenant bills of rights and hand power over to the state.

Disney vs. DeSantis —The entertainment giant has filed suit against the Governor in the latest wrinkle in the ongoing saga.

The company accuses the governor of orchestrating a “targeted campaign of government retaliation" after the company opposed the state's controversial Parental Rights in Education law.

During a speech in Jerusalem this week, the governor said he wants to end what he calls "special treatment. “They are upset that they are actually having to live by the same rules as everybody else,” he said.

2024? The Governor is still staying tight-lipped about his expected bid for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, he fielded questions during stops in South Korea, Japan and Israel this week.

Last week, we told you how 10 House Republicans from Florida have already endorsed former President Donald Trump ahead of the election.

Pinellas County freshman U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Seminole) is among that group who also dined at Mar-a-Lago last week.

Luna tells 10 Tampa Bay, “I absolutely love and respect Gov. DeSantis. And I will continue to support him as my governor but he's not even a declared candidate and right now, my support is and will stay with President Trump for 2024.”

We also talked with Luna about the ongoing dilemma with beaches in Pinellas County.

Luna is pushing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get started on a crucial beach renourishment project, as beaches are getting smaller and losing sand along the portion known as Sand Key.

Typically, renourishment projects are majority-funded by the USACE, but right now local leaders say the feds won't get going on it because they are requiring 100% of beachfront homeowners to sign perpetual property easements, something they say is not realistic, adding the vast majority of beachfront is public property.

She sent a letter to USACE urging action. “They could not point to one memorandum, one note, one policy, one email, that gave them the authority to all of a sudden decide to enforce this quote-unquote policy,” Luna says. “They need to fix it, and they have really no reasoning why they shouldn't.”

Beach renourishment is crucial for several reasons, Luna points to protecting endangered turtle habitats and the potential impact on the local tourism economy among the top reasons.

“It's a huge multifaceted issue, but it is something that's nonpartisan,  actually bipartisan,” says Luna. “I mean, we all live in Florida, we all live near the beach because we love it. We need to make sure that that water stays clean and that we have our beaches and it is an issue for flooding as well, if we do have God forbid, knock on wood, a hurricane that comes through.”

The Army Corps of Engineers says they’ve received the letter, but right now local beachfront community leaders are looking at backup plans for the roughly $40 million project

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