TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are investigating whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis broke the law by using tax-payer money to fly four-dozen migrants to Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is standing by his decision to fly them from Texas to Florida and then to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts as part of the state's relocation program.
In a news conference on Friday, he said he plans to do it again.
"We've got the infrastructure in place now. There's going to be a lot more that's happening," the governor said. "The legislature gave me $12 million, and we're going to spend every penny of that to make sure we're protecting the people of the state of Florida."
When you look at the language of the law, which dictates how the $12 million may be used, it says it's to implement a program that would transport unauthorized immigrants from Florida.
However, on Friday, DeSantis outlined how people paid by Florida sought out migrants in Texas. He argues these people were trying to come to Florida.
"They've been in Texas identifying people that are trying to come to Florida and then offering them free transportation to sanctuary jurisdictions," DeSantis said. "These sanctuary jurisdictions can put their money where their mouth is, they can provide the resources, they can do all of that. and then once that happens, the chance of folks coming to Florida is probably very, very low."
The state paid a charter company $615,000 on Sept. 8, pulled from a $12 million budget for the purpose of relocating "unauthorized aliens."
In this case, it was men, women and children who had never stepped foot in Florida.
Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) sits on the Appropriations Committee and says because this deviates from the money's intended use to relocate migrants from Florida, it's illegal.
"It's very clear what the language in the bill says and it does not authorize him to do what he did," Stewart explained.
Stewart says she and others have been looking into the language of the law to determine the next steps.
"We have to get to the bottom of this, this does not appear to be legal to me by what was written in the budget as to how this money is to be used," Stewart said.