Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed into law a bill aimed at cracking down on violent rioters and their Democrat enablers in local governments.
HB 1, also known as the “anti-riot bill,” was filed in the Florida House of Representatives in early January, and passed the Senate on Thursday evening.
A number of tough measures in the bill were introduced after riots roiled the country last summer, including a measure allowing legal repercussions against liberal local authorities if they order the police to stand down during destructive riots. The law, according to DeSantis, highlights the contrast between the way Republicans and Democrats address political unrest in America’s cities.
“The more blue an area is, the worse it’s governed. I mean it’s just a disaster what we’ve seen. It’s always been the case kind of in my lifetime, but I think in the last year, it’s been exacerbated between COVID lockdowns and the rioting,” DeSantis told Breitbart News, explaining that blue area leaders have “totally dropped the ball.”
DeSantis said that defunding the police is now effectively “off the table” in Florida.
“If you don’t stand up for law enforcement, you are going to have more crimes,” he said, pointing out that, in some blue jurisdictions, law enforcement has receded, resulting in an increase in crime in those areas.
During a press conference Monday morning, the governor touted the new law as “the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country.”
“There’s just nothing even close,” he said.
One of the measures in the new law discourages antifa/BLM-sympathetic local authorities from ordering police to stand down.
“If you’re derelict in your duty as the local government, if you tell the police to stand down, then you’re responsible for the damage that ensues,” DeSantis explained. “If someone has been harmed, or their property destroyed, then they can sue you for compensation.”
One of the more controversial pieces of the new law gives civil legal immunity to motorists who drive through agitators blocking a road. It also makes blocking a highway a felony offense.
Democrats are also objecting to a new provision that denies bail for protesters arrested for misdemeanor offenses until their first court appearance. The point of this is to keep repeat offenders from rejoining ongoing protests/riots, DeSantis said.
The law also protects Confederate monuments and other memorials, statues and historic property often targeted by the left.
“We also saw around the country people toppling monuments of people like George Washington,” DeSantis said. “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.”
Polk Co. Sheriff Grady Judd credited DeSantis for sparing Florida’s cities from the awful fates of Democrat-run cities.
“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 lives into building their business. We saw folks’ businesses burn around this nation who literally had worked their entire lives, and had every penny of their life savings involved. And what our governor said was, ‘that’s not happening here.'”