DeSantis signs bill expanding Florida State Guard

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Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill that will expand and make permanent the Florida State Guard, which DeSantis revived last year.

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DeSantis’ office said the Florida State Guard bill (HB 1285) was among eight military-related measures he signed Friday.

Lawmakers passed the bills during the legislative session that ended May 5.

The Florida State Guard was initially set up during World War II to replace Florida National Guard members who were deployed abroad.

Read: DeSantis reactivates Florida State Guard with a focus on disaster response

It went inactive in 1947. But DeSantis restored it last year, at least partly to help the Florida National Guard during emergencies.

Last year’s approval, however, came in what is known as a budget “implementing” bill, which means the Florida State Guard authorization would expire July 1, according to a House staff analysis.

The bill signed Friday will eliminate the July 1 expiration date and put the Florida State Guard in law as a division of the state Department of Military Affairs.

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The bill also will expand the maximum size of the Florida State Guard from 400 to 1,500 members.

Lawmakers separately included $107.6 million in the new state budget for the Florida State Guard, up from $10 million in the current fiscal year.

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