DeSantis vetoes disaster preparedness fund using COVID money, citing federal rules

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have created an emergency preparedness fund for disasters and states of emergency, using money from a state COVID recovery fund.

According to a letter from the governor’s office about the veto, DeSantis did not sign the bill which would have created a $1 billion fund from the state’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. DeSantis said the veto was due to federal guidance and rules about how the money can be used.

SB 1892, had it been signed by the governor, would have created a fund for use by the Executive Office of the Governor to deposit money for funding emergency or disaster response during declared states of emergency that would need more money than is appropriated from regular funding sources.

Had it passed, the fund would have been established through July 1, 2025, with the law taking effect July 1, 2021. Instead, that effort has been canceled by the governor’s veto.

The letter goes further, explaining that the veto to the hurricane preparedness fund had to happen due to the “unmanageable burdens” to future emergency response efforts the fund would create as a result of not having the $1 billion from the COVID fund.

Instead, the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund was rejected, with the governor recommending an attempt to “re-address” establishing the fund in the 2022 Legislative Session.

Read the full letter from Gov. DeSantis below: