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Florida Senate Budget Chief Backs Plane For Governor DeSantis

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - Senate Appropriations Chairman Sen. Rob Bradley lent support Wednesday to putting the governor in a new state-operated aircraft, "whether he asks for it or not."

Former Gov. Rick Scott, who had his own aircraft, got rid of state planes is 2011. That has left new Gov. Ron DeSantis flying in a modified seized drug plane, as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shuttles him across the state.

"It is ridiculous, if we're the third largest state in the union, that the governor is having to travel around in the manner he's traveling around in right now," Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said. "I think it's completely appropriate for him to have a secure means to move around the state."

Days after DeSantis' Jan. 8 inauguration, the seized drug plane had to make an emergency landing due to a mechanical problem that required the use of oxygen masks for the occupants, including DeSantis, his chief of staff Shane Strum and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

After a meeting of his committee Wednesday, Bradley didn't expand on funding or how a new state air fleet could be comprised. House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, has said any new aircraft should be limited to the governor, with other leaders getting on board only if invited.

"I don't know of too many situations that would require Cabinet officers or presiding (legislative) officers to get to a place in such a short time," Oliva said last month.

"If there is some sort of tragedy, we can all make our way down in relatively short order. But I think the person that would be required to be there, in the event of an emergency, a tragedy, some pressing matter, I think the executive is the one that would have to get there."

(©2019 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida's contributed to this report.)

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