Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday night took to the Fox News Channel to tout his so-called “anti-riot” bill (HB 1), a piece of law and order legislation he celebrated as “the strongest set of reforms in the country” in a prime-time showcase.
The showcase legislation was rolled out on the day of the Capitol Insurrection, but was in fact conceptually floated amid protests in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd and the heated law-and-order rhetoric of the Donald Trump era.
The Senate passed the bill on Thursday. It now awaits DeSantis’ signature.
The Governor told host Sean Hannity that “over the summer we were one of the states that said we’re not having riots in the state of Florida. And so we put our foot down. We protected our folks.”
“The bill I’m going to sign very soon is the strongest set of reforms in the country to even strengthen our hand more,” DeSantis said.
“If a local government decides to defund the police, we are able to stop that. We can put people in jail if they riot or assault a police officer. In fact, if you assault a police officer during a riot, you have a mandatory jail sentence of at least six months. We also have provisions to prevent mob intimidation tactics. And I think it’s probably the most comprehensive piece of law and order legislation that I’ve seen,” DeSantis said.
The Governor said that in Florida if you get arrested for rioting, “you go to jail and stay in jail until you have your first appearance, and then the judge can determine whether you get your bond or not.”
DeSantis was more pugnacious in primetime than a spokesman was in a statement on the bill earlier this week.
“With the passage of HB 1, the Florida Legislature has answered Gov. DeSantis’ call to uphold the rights of our state’s residents while protecting businesses and supporting our brave men and women in law enforcement,” said Cody McCloud, press secretary for DeSantis, in a written statement.