On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled new legislation that would strengthen punishments against rioters, looters and other violent demonstrators.
The bill, known as the Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act, will push for harsh penalties against individuals who are found guilty of rioting and looting, as well as for participating in associated actions. DeSantis hopes the bill will discourage people led astray by Antifa and Black Lives Matter from joining riots. It will be introduced to the Florida Legislature in its next session, scheduled to begin after the election.
“I look at what goes on in Portland,” said DeSantis, a Republican, at the press conference announcing the legislation. “They’ll have people, they’ll arrest them. They’re all scraggly-looking Antifa types. They get their mugshot taken, then they get released. It’s like a carousel – on and on it goes. That’s not going to happen here in Florida.” (Related: BREAKING: DOJ declares Seattle, Portland and New York to be lawless anarchist zones, setting up federal arrests of Democrat mayors after the election.)
New criminal offenses for rioters, and increased penalties for existing offenses
DeSantis’ new legislation creates new criminal offenses. It places a third-degree felony charge for people who participate in violent or disorderly assemblies that include at least seven people, as well as for rioters who block traffic during any kind of unplanned demonstration. If a driver is trying to flee for their safety from a violent mob obstructing the road, they will not be held liable for any injury or death that they cause.
A second-degree felony charge will be placed on people who damage or destroy public property, including historical monuments. A first-degree misdemeanor charge will be placed on people who harass or intimidate others in public places, such as restaurants. Furthermore, the bill adds a new liability under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to anybody who is caught either organizing or financing a violent assembly.
DeSantis’ legislation also increases penalties for existing offenses. Hitting a law enforcement officer during a riot will now carry with it a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months.
Offense and sentence enhancements will also be applied for people who throw projectiles at civilians or law enforcement officers as well as for participating in a riot if you are not a resident of Florida.
Finally, the new legislation introduces a series of measures designed to protect citizens and taxpayers, most notable among them is the measure that prevents state funding from being given to local governments that defund their police departments. Anybody who is convicted of participating in a riot will also be unable to receive state benefits and be made ineligible for employment in any local or state government agency.
It also makes it easier for victims of rioters and looters to sue local governments for the damages they incurred, which DeSantis hopes will spur on local officials to take a stronger stance against violent mobs.
Anybody arrested during a riot and charged with a crime in connection to the violent assembly will also be made ineligible for bond or bail until their first appearance in court.
DeSantis wants special session for anti-rioter legislation
Even though the bill has already been filed, the Florida Legislature isn’t expected to hold a hearing regarding DeSantis’ legislation until Nov. 17. As such, the governor has called for them to hold a special session in order to pass the act. DeSantis has even reached out to Sen. Wilton Simpson, the incoming president of the state senate.
“I mentioned to both President Simpson and [the incoming Speaker of the House] that, look, you guys are going to be here for the organizational session,” said DeSantis. “It’s going to have broad support I think certainly from the Republican caucuses in both chambers. You know it may be something you need to act on.”
DeSantis made known his intention to get the legislature to act on his legislation quickly during a state cabinet meeting. Naturally, Democrats are already criticizing the governor for wanting lawmakers to prioritize law and order.
State Rep. Anna Eskamani said that she and other Democratic legislators have been agitating for the legislature to hold a special session, but for other reasons that they believe should take priority.
“[Gov. DeSantis] doesn’t want us to actually address his terrible track record, or the terrible track record of the Republican Party of Florida,” said Eskamani. “So, he’s using law and order as an election stunt to distract and scare voters.”
Rep. Shevrin Jones, who is seeking a seat in the state senate, called DeSantis and Florida Republicans hypocrites for trying to expand the powers of the state government.
“What you have just done is a blatant lie,” said Jones. “They pick and choose which people and which communities are afforded civil liberties, and this cannot stand.”
Rioters will not be able to terrorize innocent Americans for much longer. Learn about how local and state governments all across the country are fighting back against the engineered violence at Rioting.news.