Florida governor unveils legislation targeting protesters in ‘violent or disorderly’ demonstrations
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) unveiled legislation on Monday that would halt state funding to any cities or jurisdictions that cut law enforcement budgets and institute new penalties for protests where authorities say violence or vandalism has occurred.
A summary of the legislation tweeted by DeSantis contained a list of new felony charges for protesters who block traffic, harass people in private establishments or assault members of law enforcement as well as language aimed at countering calls to defund law enforcement agencies following protests against the treatment of Black Americans by police.
The legislation “prohibits state grants or aid to any local government that slashes the budget for law enforcement services,” according to DeSantis’s news release.
“Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies,” the governor tweeted. “We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe.”
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 21, 2020
DeSantis’s legislation could face an uphill battle to becoming law because of the split-party control of Florida’s state legislature, with Democrats controlling the upper chamber.
The bill comes as cities in Florida and around the country have seen protests for months, beginning with demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in late May.
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