SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that the state is giving $1,000 bonuses to all first responders in Florida.
This includes every sworn law enforcement officer, EMTs, firefighters, and paramedics.
"Some want to defund the police, we're funding the police and then some," DeSantis said.
The governor made the announcement at the Satellite Beach Police Department in Brevard County with multiple officers and police chiefs from the region.
He said the money for the bonuses will come from the state's upcoming budget.
"The people that wear the uniform, they didn't have that luxury [of working from home during the pandemic]. They were out there every single day," DeSantis said. "They had to work more than they ever have."
The governor called the way that many police officers were treated last year in some parts of the country a "total disgrace."
He applauded lawmakers' passage of the so-called "anti-riot" law, which places tougher penalties on protesters who engage in violent rallies.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the governor said the state's rainy day fund never had to be used and has doubled since he took office.
"If you look at the amount of revenue that's pouring into the state because of all the economic activity, the forecasters can't keep up with it," the governor said. "We're probably going to end up with total reserves close to $10 billion, which I think has gotta be a record for the state."
He said opening the state up and reducing lockdown measures last fall was critical to the economic health of Florida.
"By keeping Florida open, we saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in the restaurant, hotel, hospitality industry. We saved thousands of businesses," DeSantis said.
He continued to attack the CDC for not allowing the cruise industry to resume sailing from Florida ports. The governor said they have an upcoming hearing concerning the matter after the state filed a lawsuit last month.
The governor held a second news conference in Hillsborough County at the Temple Terrace Fire Department where he was joined by the state's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
During his speech in Temple Terrance, DeSantis said given the guidance from the state's department of education that parents can expect basically a "normal school year" starting in the fall.
Martin County first responders reacted to the governor's announcement. For some, the extra cash means more time with loved ones.
"Some people say it's not a lot of money, but it's extra hours that guys don't have to work. It takes a little bit of the load off," said Martin County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Martini.
For others, they say the money will pay for much needed expenses.
"I have a dishwasher at the house that I need to replace so $1000 came at the perfect time," said Corporal Jeffrey Read.
The governor held two news conferences Tuesday where he signed new legislation to improve Florida's early education and VPK programs.