Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Polk County Monday, to sign the anti-riot legislation into law.
Proposed by the governor following violent protests last year, HB1 allows local police to challenge budgets, opens cities to liability for poor riot control, and creates or strengthens penalties against those it deems rioters.
“We saw around the country, people toppling monuments of people like George Washington. This bill protects all monuments in Florida. You have no right to go in and take down monuments, we’re not going to let the mob win the day with that. This bill also includes liability for mob intimidation, if you think about it, we saw images of people just sitting outside eating. at a restaurant and then you have this crazy mob circle around them and starts screaming and really intimidating,” said DeSantis. “I’m sorry that’s unacceptable, you’re gonna be held accountable. Mind your own business and leave people alone, if they’re not bothering you.”
“Finally and probably, maybe most importantly, if you riot, if you loot, if you harm others, particularly if you harm a law enforcement officer during one of these violent assemblies, you’re going to jail. We’re going to hold you accountable and we’re not going to end up like Portland where this is just a daily occurrence,” DeSantis said.
“I want to make sure that our cities are prosperous we want to make sure folks are protected and there should be no doubt, the minute I sign this bill into law, anybody who wears the uniform in service of protecting the public, this bill will make very clear the state of Florida stands with you,” said DeSantis.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd spoke from the podium today and shared visuals peaceful protests and riots.
“Florida is a unique place and a special place it’s where we work where we live but it’s also where the world comes to play, to bring their children and their children have a right to be safe. That’s guaranteed under the leadership of our governor and our speaker, and the way we do business in Florida<‘ said Judd.
“You can compare and contrast. Look at Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis. That’s no way to treat the community, that’s no way to treat those that put their entire life into building their business. We saw folks businesses burn around this nation who literally had worked their entire life and had every penny of their life savings involved,” Judd added.
“There’s a reason that this place is fun, there’s a reason why we have a 49-year low crime rate and the same people that don’t think we should have an anti-rioting bill. are the same ones that think we ought to let more people out of prison,” said Judd
“Welcome to Florida, but don’t register to vote in the stupid way you did up north you’ll get what they got’ said Judd.
Judd added that if you riot and loot in the state of Florida you will be, “locked up before quick.”
Democrats staunchly opposed to the bill, worried that the broad language will suppress nonviolent demonstrations and minority voices.
“This legislation strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished,” DeSantis said in a statement.
With DeSantis’ signature, HB1 takes effect immediately.