The more I learn about Ron DeSantis,

the more I like him. My visit to Florida in April also left me with a good feeling about its governor. How refreshing to experience life in a state comparatively free of excessive covid restrictions.

Now comes word, via Stanley Kurtz, that DeSantis has vetoed a stealth protest-civics bill, S.B. 146. Stanley reports:

Ostensibly, S.B. 146 was designed to forward “civic literacy education.” In fact, it was a quiet effort to gain money and state sponsorship for protest civics (aka “action civics”), a practice that grants course credit for student political protests and lobbying, almost invariably for leftist causes. Although DeSantis has moved to bar Critical Race Theory (CRT) from Florida’s schools, S.B. 146 could very easily have allowed CRT to creep back into Florida’s education system.

I think Stanley deserves some credit for the veto, as do grassroots education groups in Florida. He flagged the fact that, unbeknownst to many of the legislators who voted for S.B. 146, the legislation would facilitate protest civics and CRT. Writing at NRO, he urged DeSantis to veto the bill.

However, Stanley thought the likelihood of such a veto was low, inasmuch as S.B. 146 passed unanimously and was backed by powerful political forces. Yet, once DeSantis learned the truth about the bill, he courageously vetoed it.

In his veto letter, DeSantis explicitly notes that S.B. 146 would further politically biased “action civics.” Just as Stanley warned.

DeSantis seems to be that rare Republican with an antenna capable of detecting what the left is really up to.

Stanley believes that DeSantis’ ability to pick up on and nix “actions civics” has national implications. He writes:

The DeSantis veto of S.B. 146 marks a turning point in the national battle over protest civics. Heretofore, states have passed stealth action-civics bills with bipartisan support. Similarly misguided bills are pending in Congress. It’s unlikely that Republicans in Florida would have supported S.B. 146 if they’d heard about protest civics and understood its nature. The same goes for Republicans unknowingly supporting protest-civics bills in other states.

Time and again, however, Democrats approach naïve Republicans and ask them to support “bipartisan” legislation on “civics.” The Republicans may notice some bits in the bills about “civic engagement,” yet no alarm bells ring. It sounds all red, white, and blue, but the “civics” involved has more to do with Saul Alinsky than with teaching about the three branches of government, checks and balances, or the principles of federalism. Once Republicans sign on as co-sponsors of these stealthy protest-civics bills, it’s tough to back down. The bills pass, and presto, a state school system has effectively mandated extra-curricular leftist political protests as part of “civic education.” . . . .

The DeSantis veto of S.B. 146 shows that the push-back against protest civics has truly gained traction. It can’t have been easy to veto a bill that passed unanimously. But knowledge of the troublesome practice of protest civics is spreading, and surely this helped to sink the bill. Grassroots education groups in Florida called on DeSantis to veto S.B. 146, and even a short time ago conservatives wouldn’t have known enough about protest civics to even notice a bill like this. With the grassroots rebellion sweeping the country on education issues, all of that has changed. This veto is every bit as much a tribute to the parents across Florida now fighting against politicized schools as it is to Governor DeSantis.

Now, we’ll see whether South Dakota governor Kristi Noem matches DeSantis by aggressively moving to block protest civics in her state.

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