A Priority for Governor DeSantis – Florida May Get its Own Permanent State Guard
Governor DeSantis believes in Florida First legislation, including a state guard. Today the State Affairs Committee, chaired by Representative Lawrence McClure (Rep), voted on a bill, HB 1285, Florida State Guard, by Representative Mike Giallombardo (R). The bill will make the Floria State Guard (FSG) a permanent part of the state militia. It passed the State Affairs Committee.
Giallombardo is the right representative to sponsor this bill. His experience makes him well aware of what Floridians need in an emergency. Giallombardo was in the Army and continued service in the Florida Army National Guard. He is currently a Chief Warrant Officer (CW2) and serves as the State Emergency Response Team liaison for the State of Florida. He has been activated for multiple hurricanes working with numerous counties to ensure that the citizens have support from the Florida National Guard.
Led by the Governor as commander in chief, the Florida National Guard consists of organized, armed, equipped, and federally recognized commissioned officers, warrant officers, and enlisted personnel who are citizens of the United States or who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States.
One of the most amusing questions was about a word change in an amendment. Representative Anna Eskamani asked;
Why does the amendment now say may not be convicted of a felony when the original said cannot be convicted of a felony?
Representative Giallombardo’s answer;
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The Florida State Defense Force was created in 1941 to supplement the state’s National Guard, which had been federalized during World War II. The Florida State Defense Force was deactivated and disbanded in 1947 after the return of the state’s National Guard.
The Florida State Guard (FSG) was created in 2022. It is a volunteer force that assists federal, state, and local government agencies and civil relief organizations during impending or actual emergencies in Florida. The FSG will sunset on July 1, 2023.
The bill will create a Division of the State Guard within the Department of Military Affairs, a separate budgeting entity., headed by a director appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
The bill requires the director to organize a specialized unit within the FSG, considered a criminal justice agency while activated, and provides that unit members must meet specific minimum requirements.
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The FSG may be activated when the Governor has delayed a state of emergency or to preserve the public peace, execute the laws of the state, enhance domestic security, respond to terrorist threats or attacks, respond to an emergency or imminent danger thereof, or respond to any need for emergency aid to civil authorities.
The bill increases the number of personnel from 400 to 1500. Some essential requirements to be considered for this are; that you must be at least nineteen, be a U.S. citizen, be a high school caudate or equivalent, and not be convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors.
This bill is expected to pass on party lines. Kudos to our great Governor for protecting Floridians.
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