Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a new bill that he has called the nation’s “strongest anti-rioting” legislation Monday, making it law in the state.
DeSantis, who was surrounded by police officers, signed House Bill 1, which subjects local government decisions to cut back on funding to police to a state-level administrative review and also increases penalties for folks who are caught participating in a riot.
“It is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country,” DeSantis said during the signing.
The bill, which was approved by a vote of 23-17 on Thursday in the Republican-led state Senate, makes it harder for local governments to strip funding from law enforcement by allowing certain elected officials to file appeals to budget reductions to the state’s Administration Commission, a panel made up by the governor and Cabinet officials.
“We saw last summer some of the local governments were actually telling, not necessarily in Florida but throughout the country, basically telling these folks to stand, telling police to stand down while cities burned, while businesses were burned, while people were being harmed,” DeSantis said before signing the bill. “That’s a dereliction of duty.”
DeSantis stressed that his goal in signing the bill is to make local authorities more accountable and to prevent Florida’s municipalities from becoming similar to cities in other states that have reduced police budgets.
“These areas that defunded part of law enforcement or just turned their backs on law enforcement — they are paying the bill,” he said. “This law protects Floridians from having that happen.”
The new bill also creates a minimum sentence for individuals who are convicted of assaulting police officers or other law enforcement professionals and increases the severity of offense for other crimes “if committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot,” such as obstructing a highway.”
Every state in the country needs laws like this. Right now.