As supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to block congressional certification of the 2020 election on Wednesday, Republican leaders in Florida released legislation aimed at cracking down on violent protests.
GOP House and Senate leaders rolled out an anti-riot proposal that would create a host of new crimes, crack down on protests and make it difficult for local government officials to trim spending on law enforcement.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis called Wednesday’s actions in Washington D.C. totally unacceptable. He rolled out a similar law-and-order plan in September, weeks ahead of the presidential election last fall.
“I 100 percent support people’s right to be able to get together, protest and say what’s on their mind. The minute that crosses over, I think there needs to be penalties," he said.
But Democrats in Florida, who harshly criticized DeSantis’ proposal last year, continue to rail at the revamped legislation.
Pointing out that many Floridians remain unemployed due to the pandemic, State Senator Shevrin Jones says there are bigger issues to deal with.
“We need to be focusing our time on the pandemic. We need to be focusing our time on the unemployment issues that we are dealing with in the state. That is where the chaos is at. That is what we should be creating legislation for.”
The legislation would create a new offense of “mob intimidation,” while enhancing penalties for defacing public monuments, make it a crime to destroy a memorial and require mandatory restitution for the full cost of repair or replacement of damaged or destroyed memorials.