Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke new life into his controversial ‘law and order’ proposal Thursday, reminding Floridians he was the nation’s first Governor to propose anti-rioting legislation.
DeSantis in September shared his vision to create and increase criminal offenses for those who target law enforcement and assemble unlawfully. Coined as the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act,” the proposal, among other pursuits, sought to block state grants to municipalities that slash law enforcement budgets.
The proposal came amid a series of nationwide protests and riots demanding police reform. While many chastised it then, DeSantis suggested the legislation deserves a second look from critics following the most severe U.S.Capitol breach since the British in 1814.
“It doesn’t matter what banner you’re flying under, the violence is wrong, the rioting and the disorder is wrong,” DeSantis said at a COVID-19 focused press conference in Bradenton. “We’re not going to tolerate it in Florida. I hope maybe now we’ll get even more support for my legislation because it’s something that needs to be done.”
The Governor’s remarks come less than 24 hours after a mob supporting President Donald Trump seized the U.S. Capitol building.
The midday security breach forced congressional operations to a hard stop, effectively delaying the constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
Media reports, videos and images suggest law enforcement officers were overwhelmed during the massive ambush. Lawmakers were given gas masks and forced to evacuate the House and Senate Floor. Others were forced to hunker down within the Chambers and Capitol offices.
Capitol Police fatally shot a woman during the siege, and another three died from subsequent medical emergencies.
DeSantis on Thursday stopped short of blaming Trump, himself and enablers who fueled election conspiracies or refused to accept the election results.
“What I’ve said is you can file suits,” DeSantis explained to reporters. “There’s political ways to do it. In no way have I ever supported any type of lawlessness or anything like that so that’s totally antithetical. Again, I’m the first Governor to really take this very seriously with my legislation.”
Separately, two GOP lawmakers — Sen. Danny Burgess and Rep. Juan Fernandez -Barquin — filed legislation Wednesday to toughen Florida’s posture against rioters and municipalities who seek to slash police budgets.
The provision is the latest GOP counter-punch against civil unrest.
Both lawmakers noted the Capitol Hill siege during the legislation’s unveil.