TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — The Florida House passed a bill (HB 21) with language proposed by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) that will name a street after Rush Limbaugh. The move made Democrats furious.
According to the bill, Cortez Boulevard in Hernando County would be known as “Rush Limbaugh Way.” Rep. Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) said it was an opportunity for House and Senate members to “bring forward a designation for someone we believe is deserving of that through their contributions to the community.” Sirois explained that Limbaugh passed away in Palm Beach from lung cancer and donated millions of dollars to charity.
But Rep. Lindsay Cross (D-Saint Petersburg) began questioning why the verbiage was added to the House bill, sparking objections from other Democrats.
“Why are we keeping that in the bill?” asked Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando).
Rep. Yvonne Hinson (D-Gainesville) said the original bill was intended to honor former astronaut Sally Ride.
“I think I want to know now, how did it get changed and how many people are in this thing?” Hinson said.
The bill designates 19 roadways and bridges that would receive a commemorative name – most memorials to law enforcement officers. Christa McAuliffe, acclaimed as the “first teacher in space” who died in the Challenger space shuttle disaster, will also have a bridge in Brevard County named in her honor.
“I started listening to Rush Limbaugh in 1991, during Desert Storm. The machine gun, the feminazis, the racist remarks. I’ve just got a real problem designating a road after a racist,” Rep. Bruce Antone (D-Orlando) said.
Rep. Rita Harris (D-Orlando), who initially co-sponsored the bill when it was just honoring Sally Ride, also objected.
“We’re going to honor this man?” Harris said. “Nah.”
Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) said, “racism and wanting slavery to still be in existence is not a political issue, and if you think it is one, you need DEI training.”
“The disrespect has to stop,” Nixon said. “I can’t believe that we are honoring a racist. That’s ridiculous in and of itself. And you wonder why we don’t want to break bread with you all, because you want to support and endorse racism. That’s ridiculous. And calling it a political issue? That’s a moral issue, through and through.”
Despite objections from Democrats, the bill passed with an 87–25 vote. Republicans expect Governor DeSantis, who ordered flags flown at half-staff when Limbaugh died, to sign the legislation.
“He had me on when I was running for governor,” DeSantis said after Limbaugh passed. “I was getting the tar kicked out of me every day and he had me on the week before the election in 2018. He didn’t have a lot of guests. I was honored to be on his show a couple of times.”