Senate Democrats call on business community to take action after anti-riot bill passage
Image via Jason Delgado.

IMG_2106 2
"Now is the time to step up."

Senate Democrats are calling on the business community to take action after Florida Republicans passed a bill Thursday that would increase penalties against unlawful protestors and rioters.

Speaking to reporters on the Senate floor after the vote, several Democratic lawmakers decried the bill (HB 1) as racist and unconstitutional. Together, they donned black shirts to symbolize the mourning of free speech and pointed to the business community to leverage their economic power.

“Many businesses said that they would be supportive of the issues,” said Minority Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Bobby Powell Jr. “[That] they recognized the pain and the suffering that some of us in the Black community were feeling. Now is the time to step up.”

The call-to-economic-arms comes less than an hour after the Senate passed the bill almost along party-lines. Only one Republican, Sen. Jeff Brandes, broke ranks.

Farmer said some Democrats planned to wear black shirts during the Session. Republican leadership, however, shut it down.

Now the bill, which withstood over 40 Democratic attempts to amendit, awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ signature.

“This bill is nothing more than a piece of political red meat,” said Minority Democratic Leader Gary Farmer. “It’s been forced upon these chambers by the Governor. This Trumpian disciple who seeks to stamp out and thwart the voices of the people.”

Among other provisions, the measure would require someone arrested during an unlawful assembly to remain in jail until first appearance.

Democratic Sen. Perry Thurston warned the new laws will have a “chilling effect” on First Amendment rights.

Speaking alongside Thurston, Sen. Victor Torres contended that businesses owe it to their customers and employees to take a position.

Thurston echoed the sentiment.

“We’re not telling them what position to take, but I think that they should be mindful of the fact that these are the people that are their customers,” Thurston said.

While the bill is intended to combat public disorder, Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones suggested it won’t stop assembly.

“They’re ready to do it,” Jones said.

The collective vowed to continue pressing against the legislation.

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 @byJasonDelgado.

One comment

  • saad

    April 18, 2021 at 3:06 am

    Making the disclosure yesterday during a courtesy visit to Bawa Usman Katungun, the EFCC zonal head, in charge of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, the chairman of the association, Atiku Abubakar said his members are law abiding and ready to comply with all the extant laws regulating monetary transactions in Nigeria.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn