Florida lawmakers this week moved to advance anti-rioting legislation that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) proposed last year following the Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests that dominated several cities for months.
Republicans filed the legislation on Wednesday after the Capitol riots, which resulted in lockdowns and fatalities, including one police officer.
“In light of today’s events at our United States Capitol, we have no time to waste to uphold public safety,” DeSantis said in a statement Wednesday night.
“I look forward to working with House Speaker Sprowls and Senate President Simpson to swiftly pass this bill during the upcoming Legislative Session so that we may protect the rule of law in our great state,” he added.
DeSantis also addressed the Capitol chaos specifically, explaining that one “can be disappointed in an election, you can be disappointed in whatever, but you can’t just go in and ransack public places like that.”
“The rioting and the disorder are wrong. We’re not going to tolerate it in Florida,” he promised.
The legislation cracks down on penalties for individuals who commit crimes during riots, including requiring “those arrested in events to stay in jail until their first court appearance,” according to WEAR-TV.
Legislation filed late Wednesday in both the Florida House and Senate does not carry the exact vision DeSantis laid out on the heels of last summer’s protests, but does attempt to crack down on the “defund the police” movement that aims to redirect police funding to social services. The bills would also boost penalties for already illegal actions during what the bills term “riots” and make it a felony to pull down “any memorial,” a nod to the heated fights in Florida and elsewhere over whether to remove Confederate monuments.
The bill specifically addresses the Defund the Police movement, which many progressive lawyers, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), championed, requiring local governments to work with the state prior to reducing funding.