Drivers traveling along Cortez Boulevard between U.S. 41 and State Road 50 in Hernando County will soon be traversing Rush Limbaugh Way.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill (HB 21) Tuesday evening designating new names for 22 roads and bridges throughout the state, but the appellation that garnered the most attention and controversy was the section to be named after Limbaugh, the longtime West Palm Beach conservative radio host who died in 2021.
Limbaugh’s radio program started in 1988 and he’s lauded by conservatives for pushing back on Democrats’ and mainstream media coverage of Republicans. He also has a lengthy history of racist and misogynistic comments.
“I can’t believe that we are honoring a racist. That’s ridiculous in and of itself,” Rep. Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat, said during debate on the bill on the House floor earlier this month.
The bill passed 87-25 in the House, with all but 10 Democrats voting against it. Even some of the Democrats who voted for it, though, had a problem with the Limbaugh road. Earlier in the Regular Session the bills passed unanimously when it didn’t contain the Limbaugh provision.
DeSantis had previously honored Limbaugh, ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff after he died. Not all jurisdictions complied, though, as then-Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who is now Florida Democratic Party chair, refused to lower the flags under her control, and local officials in Palm Beach County kept the flags at full height.
Other people honored in the bill include Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut to fly into space, and Christa McAuliffe, a teacher and astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster as part of its crew in 1986. The NASA Causeway bridge over the Indian River connecting the Kennedy Space Center with Titusville will be dubbed the “Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Bridge,” and the bridge over the Canaveral Barge Canal in Brevard County will be named the “Christa McAuliffe Bridge.”
The new law takes effect July 1.