Florida GOP leaders publish anti-riot laws – CBS St John
TALLAHASSEE (CBSSt John / NSF) – When supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to block congressional certification of the 2020 election on Wednesday, Republican leaders in Florida released laws aimed at combating violent protests.
Governor Ron DeSantis, a close ally of Trump, released his proposed law and order plan in September, weeks before last fall’s presidential election, as the country was plagued by protests sparked by police differential treatment of blacks were.
But when the U.S. Capitol was besieged by Trump supporters Wednesday night, the leaders of the GOP House and Florida Senate put out a revised version of the anti-riot proposal that sparked a host of new crimes, combats protests, and it the local government would make it difficult for officials to cut law enforcement spending.
DeSantis spoke to reporters Thursday, stating that he was the first governor in the country to propose such a measure. He has not yet recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the November 3rd election.
The Republican governor condemned the riots that took place in the capital on Wednesday as members of Congress began confirming the vote of the electoral college, which showed Biden’s clear victory over the incumbent president.
Wednesday’s actions were “totally unacceptable,” DeSantis told reporters during a press conference in Bradenton about COVID-19 vaccinations.
“It doesn’t matter what banner you fly under. The violence is wrong. The riots and disorder are wrong. We will not tolerate it in Florida, ”DeSantis said on Thursday, hoping the proposal would get“ even more support ”after the uprising on Wednesday.
DeSantis said the effort was “something that needs to be done”.
“You can have strong views. You may be disappointed in one choice. You can be disappointed in anything. But you can’t just search public places like that. So we’re going to make sure that if the people who do this in Florida, they get very quick sentences, ”he said.
The legislation would create a new offense of “mob intimidation” when three or more people “act with a common intent to coerce or induce or coerce or induce another person to act with violence or threats of violence.” to carry out or to adopt or give up a certain point of view. “
The identical Houe and Senate bills would also increase penalties for defacing public monuments, making the destruction of a monument a crime, and requiring a mandatory refund of the full cost of repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed monuments.
And the measure would result in a crime of “doxing”, the publication of private information about a person on social media websites when such data is published with the intention of “threatening, intimidating, harassing, inciting … a person … or to put a person in a reasonable state afraid of death or great assault. “
The plan would also remove bail or bail for those involved in violent protests.
The proposal would also allow citizens to question cuts in local law enforcement budgets, and give the governor and cabinet the power to reverse spending cuts.
However, the House and Senate proposal doesn’t go as far as the plan DeSantis put forward last year.
The legislation proposed by DeSantis would have expanded the state’s law allowing people to use lethal force when they feel threatened. Such a provision is not included in the measure published on Wednesday.
DeSantis had also tried to add violent protests to crimes related to extortion, an issue that was not included in the latest version of the measure either.
House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson issued a joint statement Wednesday evening to release the legislation. GOP leaders condemned the violent behavior in Washington, DC, which some observers dubbed a “riot”, fueled by Trump’s remarks earlier in the day.
The proposal will give law enforcement agencies and prosecutors “the tools and support they need to keep the safety of Floridians, the entire community and property intact,” Sprowls, a former prosecutor, said in the statement.
“I fully respect the right of every American to protest peacefully. However, there is absolutely no excuse for attacking law enforcement and destroying property, ”Simpson said.
But Florida Democrats, who harshly criticized DeSantis’ proposal last year, continued to rail over the governor’s revised legislation after months of protests across the country that resulted in a national settlement over racial inequalities in the police force and other areas of the world Society led, initially published.
State Senator Shevrin Jones said the governor’s plan aimed at protests sparked by police following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Atlanta.
“And now it seems that the aisles have changed with what happened at the Capitol yesterday,” Jones, who is Black, told Florida intelligence in a phone interview Thursday.
Jones said he was glad your land expansion status was not included in the measure that GOP leaders hope will be passed when the 2021 legislature begins in March.
“But did it really take a group of domestic terrorists to storm the US Capitol, which is not black and brown, to see that it was wrong?” he said.
Jones also noted that the violent protests that erupted across the country last summer did not take place in Florida.
“So we’re creating a problem that isn’t even real,” he said.
Jones pointed out that millions of Floridians are left unemployed due to the pandemic, and said lawmakers should focus on the state’s response to COVID-19.
“I think our priorities are all high if we should focus on vaccinating people, not those things that have no return on our investment within the state,” he said.
(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Dara Kam, Florida News Service and Tom Urban, contract manager, contributed to this report.)