The Florida Republican lawmaker who sponsored the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” After being indicted by federal prosecutors, bill resigned this Week fraud Charges related to COVID-19 relief money 

Rep. State Joe Harding After an indictment had been unsealed Thursday, the Ocala conservative legislator, 35, resigned. He was accused of applying for $150,000 in COVID-19 relief loans through Small Business Administration (using two defunct businesses), according to the indictment.

He resigned. Harding, who was elected to office in 2020, said that he wanted what’s best for Floridians, Politico reported.

“Today, I am resigning from my position for the same two reasons: I love people, and I love Florida,” He wrote it in a now-unavailable Facebook post. “I believe in Floridians and want what is best for them, and I believe their leaders need not be encumbered by distractions that are mine alone.”

Harding For two wire-related charges, you could spend up to 35 years behind bars fraudTwo counts of engaging in money transactions with funds derived illegally and two counts relating to the scheme were added to the dictum. US Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Protestors against the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” Invoice Florida This spring.
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Harding famously sponsored the state’s controversial Parental Rights in Education law.
Harding famously sponsored the state’s controversial Parental Rights in Education law.
AFP via Getty Images

The ex-legislator pleaded guilty to the charges on Tuesday, and claimed that he had repaid the loans. A trial date has been set for January 11. 

Harding famously sponsored the state’s controversial Parental Rights in Education law, ridiculed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” The bill sparked protests across the country. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law in March. The legislation bans classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity before the third grade.