The Florida House passed divisive anti-riot legislation on Friday aimed at cracking down on violent protests.
The bill (HB 1), ‘Combatting Public Disorder,’ passed by a party-line vote of 76-39. The measure would create new crimes for protests that turn violent and would impose enhanced penalties for assault and inciting a riot. The legislation would also make it more difficult for local governments to slash police funding.
A top legislative priority for Governor Ron DeSantis and GOP officials, the proposal is in response to the lawlessness that permeated throughout major cities across the country last summer after criminal mobs hijacked peaceful demonstrations and destroyed buildings and businesses.
The damages from riots last year are estimated to cost between $1-2 billion in claims, according to one report.
The Governor rolled out the framework for the law-and-order legislation last September following nationwide protests against systemic racism. The bill is just one component of DeSantis’s three-tiered legislative agenda focused on protecting Floridians from bad actors like violent mobs, Big Tech, and pandemic trial lawyers.
The measure is sponsored by State Representative Juan Fernandez-Barquin. He, along with House Speaker Chris Sprowls and their Republican colleagues, argue that the bill protects businesses from being looted or burned down, and will safeguard police officers who are called to maintain public order.
“If you break the law, you have to suffer the consequences,” Fernandez-Barquin said in his closing statement before the floor vote. “If not, what’s the purpose of having the laws?”
Democrats, however, say such legislation stifles peaceful protests, making it harder for citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights.
The Florida Senate has yet to hear the bill.
To view the full bill, click here.
This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.
It protects people, along with businesses. There were a lot of people injured or murdered during these protests. I have never been able to forget the Black retired police chief who was trying to help protect a friend’s business during the riots. His murder by a protestor or was taking advantage of the chaos to loot business. That is how his grandson found out he was murdered, on Social Media. I guess Big screen TVS mattered more than Black Lives to that black protestor! Of course his face was covered with a bandana, so he has never been found and help accountable for this heinous murder. Who packs a 9mm at a “peaceful” protest? The police chief was armed, but never fired because LIVES mattered to him!!
This bill allows protests, but prevents the violence and destruction that continues to stalk Oregon, Washington and Minnesota! In Minnesota, the BURNED a state of the art housing project ,that would have provided shelter for the homeless or underhoused, a week before its grand opening. I will never forget the flames rising 30 feet into the sky while the CNN announcer stated that this was a “peaceful protest.” I saw pictures of the aftermath. Of course, they weren’t on CNN or MSNBC or any other major news channel. Instead the were pictures placed on Facebook and other social media by people who were now having to live in these burned out husks! I actually got text messages asking me to donate to “rebuild Minneapolis”! Let George Soros pay for that instead of his hourly wages and transportation for protestors! I actually got an email from moveon.org a few years back offering money and transportation to a planned protest!!