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Florida lawmakers are working to put the United States Space Force into state statutes

planet Earth in dark outer space

The United States Space Force was the target of a brief and pun-filled discussion this week at the Florida Capitol. Despite the bad jokes, a legislative plan would give the Space Force a legit place in state law.

"Truth is, I have a bill that's totally out of this world. So thank you for being willing to hear it,” said Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, to groans from the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “If you all would blast off with me; join me, guardians, in supporting the addition of the United States Space Force to Florida Statutes.”

Burgess’ bill (SB 438) updates state statutes to reflect the creation of the Space Force. Members of this branch of the military are called guardians.

An analysis by subcommittee staff says the Space Force was created in 2019 to conduct global space operations for U-S joint and coalition forces. It was established as an independent branch of the uniformed services, and it’s the first new branch since the Air Force was authorized in 1947.

Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, tried to bargain with Burgess.

“If I vote for this bill, would you withdraw your request for the strawberry shortcake to be the state dessert?” Cruz asked.

“I'll rule that question out of order just to save you,” said committee chairman Ed Hooper, R-Palm Harbor, amid laughter. “I did not know that she harbored such strong feelings against Florida's dessert,” Burgess responded.

By the way, that proposal about the state dessert is getting strong support in both chambers.

There are two Space Force facilities in Florida: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Patrick Space Force Base, both in coastal Brevard County.

“I guess I will support this bill,” said Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton. “I always thought, Senator Burgess, you were a little more grounded in your presentations. Based on the past couple of bills and the words and phrases you’ve used, I'm not so sure.”

“I'm going to end with these wise words from a wise man that has come to become my second favorite president because of the national parks,” Burgess said. “Theodore Roosevelt once told us to keep our feet on the ground, but our eyes on the stars, Senator Boyd.”

Burgess’ bill was approved by the subcommittee.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.