Politics

Governor to Sign Anti-Riot Bill Into Law

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he will sign a bill intended to stiffen penalties for rioting.

The legislation, which cleared the Florida House last month, passed the Republican-controlled Senate 23-17 on Thursday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“This legislation strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble, while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished,” DeSantis said in a statement, according to NBC News.

“Further, this legislation ensures that no community in the state engages in defunding of their police,” the Republican governor said.

The 61-page House Bill 1 codifies new crimes, including “mob intimidation,” thus making it “unlawful for a person, assembled with two or more other persons and acting with a common intent, to use force or threaten to use imminent force, to compel or induce, or attempt to compel or induce, another person to do or refrain from doing any act or to assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint against his or her will.”

Anyone who tears down a memorial dedicated to a historical person or event could face a second-degree felony charge, according to the new law, the Tampa Bay Timesreported.

The law also pushes back at the riot tactic of blocking streets by grating civil legal immunity to anyone who drives through a protest that is trying to stop traffic on a road.

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