Florida State Guard to expand under new law DeSantis signed

Guard also received $107.6 million in new budget

Gov. DeSantis signs bill to expand the Florida State Guard.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State Guard may more than triple in size after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill into law Friday.

HB 1285 expands and makes permanent the Florida State Guard, which DeSantis reinstated last year. Without the new law, the guard’s authorization would have expired in July.

The bill puts the Florida State Guard under the Florida Department of Military Affairs and expands the guard’s maximum size from 400 volunteer members to 1,500.

The state guard was put in place during World War II while the National Guard was deployed to fight. It was dismantled after the war.

But DeSantis said the National Guard is not providing enough resources for Floridians.

News 6 investigated and found the national guard’s own records show they have capped the number of Florida National Guard troops at 12,000 since 1958, which resulted in Florida ranking 53 out of 54 states and territories when it comes to the number of troops per capita.

According to the text, “The Florida State Guard is created to protect and defend the people of Florida from all threats to public safety and to augment all existing state and local agencies.”

The legislation allows the governor to call on the guard in a state of emergency, such as in the case of a hurricane or flooding disaster.

DeSantis had also requested $98 million for the guard, but the Florida Legislature in the end included $107.6 million in the new budget for the state guard.

It received $10 million in its first year.

Information from the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.