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Politics / Issues
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Democrats Blast DeSantis Over Excluding Reporters From Elections Bill Signing

Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says DeSantis is using Fox News as a state news source.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing blowback from Democrats after he gave Fox's morning news show, Fox & Friends, exclusive access to his signing of a controversial elections bill Thursday morning.

Reporters say they weren't allowed into the signing, and they were told Fox News had an exclusive with DeSantis. Later in the day, during a different press conference in Panama City Beach, DeSantis elaborated on the choice:

"We were happy to give them the exclusive on that, and I think that it went really well. But that's broadcast to millions of people not just obviously throughout the whole country but a huge number of people in Florida."

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is pushing back on the move. She says DeSantis is using Fox News as a state news source:

"We see this in other locations across the world. China. Venezuela. Authoritarian regimes have state-run presses. Not here in America."

Meanwhile, Fox and Friends told the Tampa Bay Times it did not request exclusive access to the signing. The network says it had booked an interview with DeSantis but did not book a live bill signing.

Under the new elections law, drop boxes will only be set up for early voting, and they have to be monitored, or supervisors of elections could face fines. There will also be new identification requirements for vote by mail requests, and those requests will have to be renewed every election cycle. The bill has faced criticism from Democrats and voting rights advocates. Lawsuits to overturn the measure have already been filed.

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