Jimmy Patronis endorses anti-riot bill, warns of ‘anti-law enforcement elements’ in Legislature

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Patronis vowed to fight the emerging anti-police elements.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis threw his weight behind the GOP’s anti-riot bill Tuesday, marking the CFO’s first formal endorsement of the controversial legislation.

The bill, Combatting Public Disorder, would increase penalties for violent protests. It also, among other pursuits, targets local efforts to defund law enforcement. 

“I may not have a vote in the Legislature anymore, but I have a microphone like this one and I plan to use,” Patronis said.

Patronis advocated for the protections while speaking at the Florida Sheriffs Association 2021 Winter Conference in Ponte Vedra.

There, he warned about an “anti-law enforcement culture” developing among some in the Legislature and other political institutions. 

Patronis noted Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani, citing her criticism of a $15 million budget increase for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’m concerned that certain anti-police elements are beginning to take roots in the political institutions of our state,” Patronis said.

The CFO vowed to oppose the “anti-law enforcement culture” and any efforts to cut law enforcement out of the state budget.

“You are now not just a target for criminals but also elected officials,” Patronis said. “They are coming for your jobs and in some instances, your badge. It’s time we fight back. Enough is enough. In Tallahassee there are even whispers that Eskamani has her eyes on the Governor’s Office. We cannot let that happen!”

“Law and order” is among the Florida GOP’s top legislative priorities. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled his vision for HB1/SB 484 amid a spree of riots and protests spurred by fatal police interactions over the summer.

Republican leadership vowed to fast track the bill after rioters breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Five people died in the siege. 

The bill includes strict punishments for rioters. It would crack down on battery, assault, or inciting a riot. It would also require a person arrested for unlawful assembly to remain in custody until their first appearance.

The bill faces strong opposition from Democrats. What’s more, prognosticators expect the legislation to face legal challenges further down the road. 

Among other contentions, critics argue the measure would violate protesters’ First Amendment right to assembly and free speech. 

The measure would take effect on July 1 if it is approved by both chambers and signed by the Governor. 

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


7 comments

  • John Wright

    January 26, 2021 at 11:36 am

    I have not received any negative feedback from my extended family or friends concerning this anti-riot, pro-police bill. Everyone is supportive and I suspect that a good majority of all Floridians back this bill.

  • Ocean Joe

    January 27, 2021 at 5:40 am

    1930’s Germany certainly would have loved this bill. Think about your freedoms before you hand them over. Nobody liked storefronts being smashed and taxpayer owned police cars destroyed, nor the fiasco in Washington. But there are already laws on the books to cover these offenses. Enforce them instead of adding extra layers of likely unconstitutional infringements of free speech.

    The “strict constructionist gang” must be taking a break following all that “protect the constitution” chanting on Jan. 6.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 27, 2021 at 5:46 am

    Boy you crazy! Where were you when the anti law enforcement crowd invaded and killed police on January 6,2021! Your anti law enforcement is just another bs distraction from facts and the truth! Biden just signed an order so that our law enforcement do not have paramilitary bs! Our law enforcement is to serve and protect! We the citizens have an obligation to respect and pay for their services! Not make them do paramilitary shit!

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    January 27, 2021 at 9:33 am

    Ah, the far left frothers are busy today!

    Keep it up; I love the quotes that will be turned against them.

  • CRYSTAL B

    January 27, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Our right to PROTEST is guaranteed. It does NOT guarantee any right to riot, loot, assault and burn, damage or destroy public or private property. Your knee jerk default to Hitler’s Germany is interesting. Antifa and BLM act just like HITLER’S BROWN SHIRTS intimidating and even assaulting people who speak against them or try to disagree. In Oregon and Washington you cannot even retaliate if attacked by these groups. You are charged, while they walk free. I suggest that you read and research rather than just depending on the heavily slanted STORIES in CNN and MSNBC.

  • Tjb

    January 27, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Our CFO did not complained when the Trump administration reduced the 2021 federal funding to state’s public safety agencies by 20 percent. I am just wondering if strict punishment is for folks with political views different from our law enforcement establishment or governor.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 27, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Froth Frothy Frothing the truth and facts!

Comments are closed.


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