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DeSantis signs 'anti-riot' bill into law

"We're not going to end up like Portland."
Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 14:36:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — During a press conference in Polk County Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB1, or the "anti-riot" bill, into law.

"If you riot, loot, harm others, particularly law enforcement, you're going to jail," said DeSantis. "We're not going to end up like Portland."

"This will go a long way to make sure Florida will never be like Portland," said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

HB1 allows local police to challenge budgets, opens cities to liability for poor riot control, and creates or strengthens penalties against those it deems rioters.

"The state of Florida takes public safety very seriously," said DeSantis.

Democrats were staunchly opposed to the bill, worried that the broad language will chill peaceful protest. The GOP majority meanwhile calls HB1 a law and order measure.

DeSantis said this bill tackles the statements that there should a movement to defund law enforcement.

"This bill prevents local government from being able to defund law enforcement," DeSantis said. "If local governments tell police to stand down and a building is destroyed, the local government would be responsible for the damage."

This bill also protects all monuments in Florida.

"We're not going to let the mob win the day with [tearing down monuments]," said DeSantis.

CFO Jimmy Patronis thanked the governor for signing the law into effect, saying the law makes civil protests "ok," and violent protests illegal.

"There should be no doubt the moment I sign this bill into law," DeSantis said. "The state of Florida stands with law enforcement."

With his signature, HB1 takes effect immediately.

DeSantis said they are also working on issuing $1,000 bonus checks to law enforcement.