DeSantis signs bill aiming to curb foreign influence in education: ‘Florida is taking a stand against communist dictators’

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FLORIDA – Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law two pieces of legislation on June 7th, one of which hopes to curtail the likes of foreign adversaries influencing the state’s education system

The second piece of legislation signed relates specifically to corporate espionage, creating new felony penalties for maliciously stealing “trade secrets.”

When speaking about the newly signed legislation pertaining to curbing foreign adversaries influencing the likes of Florida’s education system, Governor DeSantis stated the following: 

“Foreign adversaries will not have access to our schools, government, or companies like they have in the past.

“Not the Communist Party of China, not Russia, not Cuba, not North Korea, not Iran, not Syria, not Venezuela. In fact, the first bill signed today safeguards our public institutions from undue foreign influence, and that means prohibiting agreements between public entities and the Communist Party of China or Cuba or any of these other malignant forces.”

One of the bans that would be imposed within the bill would bar Confucius Institutes from being present on universities or college campuses in the state of Florida.

Confucius Institutes, which is promoted as an educational partnership between Chinese institutions of higher learning and colleges in countries abroad (such as the United States), has often been a target of scrutiny since it is funded by Hanban – which is directly tied to the Chinese government. 

Outside of the education aspect, Governor DeSantis said the bill “also makes sure we don’t make deals with private companies that are closely tied to these adversaries.”

On top of the aforementioned, the bill also calls for more strict vetting for any individual, company, state or nation who wishes to engage with college campuses in Florida. 

The second bill signed by Governor DeSantis on June 7th was coined as “Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act.” According to the governor, the bill would create “new criminal offenses in Florida for the theft and trafficking of trade secrets”:

“Anyone who willfully works without authorization steals or attempts to steal a trade secret and use it for their benefit will now face a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If the same person tries to sell the stolen trade secret, they’ll face a second-degree felony with even more penalties.”

The Florida governor also noted that there would be “enhanced” penalties for those who also happen to be engaged in such corporate espionage while doing so on the behalf of a foreign government. 

Governor DeSantis also invoked the Wuhan lab leak theory when speaking about the signed legislation on June 7th, a theory once brushed off as being among fringe conspiracy theorists that has now gained a considerable amount of credibility, with even CNN reporting on the matter:

“If you look at what’s gone on now with the coronavirus pandemic and the coverup of the origins of COVID-19, it’s pretty clear that this was a virus that almost assuredly leaked out of this lab in Wuhan.

“This is the lab where these scientists were working very closely with the Community Party of China as well as the Chinese military. When you had these folks fall ill who were working in that lab last fall, the Communist Party of China decided to cover it up.

“They didn’t give any information out. They didn’t ask for any assistance. They didn’t give a heads-up to anybody. They tried to cover it.”

When expanding upon the spirit of the bill related to foreign adversaries influencing Florida’s education system, Governor DeSantis proclaimed that “no single entity that exercises a more pervasive, nefarious influence across a wide range of American industries and institutions than the Communist Party of China.”

Governor DeSantis said China’s government has managed to influence not just academia, but he also pointed to the likes of corporate media and even Hollywood: 

“You look at corporate media and entertainment industry in this country. They are in the pocket of the Communist Party of China. I mean, if Hollywood comes up with a movie the CCP doesn’t like, that gets censored.”

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Governor DeSantis has been making a name for himself since becoming the governor of Florida, as we reported back in May, he announced an effort to fund the police – as opposed to the widely circulated movement to defund police across the country. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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SATELLITE BEACH, FL – Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that, unlike many states that are defunding police, Florida will be providing $1,000 bonus checks to every police officer, firefighter, paramedic, and emergency medical technician in the state.

Making the announcement from the Satellite Beach Police Department in Brevard County, Gov. DeSantis said:

“Some want to defund the police; we’re funding the police and then some, and that’s what we’re here today to say.”

In March, the governor proposed using money from Florida’s federal stimulus package to provide first responders with bonuses, saying they earned the financial boost with their work during the pandemic. The legislature agreed and passed the proposal.

At the press conference held Wednesday, DeSantis was joined by police officials from around the state who applauded the $1,000 bonuses.

DeSantis also commented on another piece of legislation passed in support of law enforcement. He applauded the state’s passage of the “Anti-Riot” Act, which places tougher penalties on protesters who engage in violent rallies.

He praised a provision in the “Anti-Riot” Act that prevents local governments from defunding police:

“There is a very strong provision in there that said, ‘We are not going to let local governments defund law enforcement.’

“We are going to make sure that at the state level, we protect our communities, and if you try to do it, we are going to fight back, and we are going to defend the people of this state.”

The Governor said that, beyond the “Anti-Riot” Act, he wanted to reward first responders for working through the pandemic at a time when many other people did not have to:

“The other thing that we fought for was the recognition that when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, you had some people, and I don’t begrudge them from doing this, but you had some people working for different companies or whatever, they would just work on Zoom from their bedroom or from their living room.

“Well, the people that wear the uniform did not have that luxury. They were out there every single day. Our police, our fire, our EMTs, they were out there every single day. They had to work more than they ever have.”

Gov. DeSantis said that police not only had to work during the pandemic keeping the country safe, but they had to face violence and hatred while doing so:

“(Police) not only had to deal with protecting us when the pandemic hit, but then, obviously, how the police were treated last year in many parts of the country which was a total disgrace.”

Recognizing the service the officers and other first responders provide to the community, the Governor asked the legislature to provide a bonus to them, saying Florida always has the back of law enforcement:

“They (police) had to put the uniform on. Yes, they knew the State of Florida had their back and I think we did much better in Florida, but if you look at what a lot of these police officers are dealing with now, it’s terrible.

“So, I thought it was important to recognize the service, to recognize the sacrifice.”

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