Gov. Ron DeSantis signs anti-riot bill into law; puts local governments on notice

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Monday morning in Winter Haven, where he signed a so-called anti-riot bill into law.

HB 1, the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act,” redefines the meaning of protest and riots.

“It is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country, and there’s just nothing even close,” DeSantis told reporters.

The bill was created in response to nationwide demonstrations last year after the death of George Floyd.

The governor said the new law does multiple things, including providing stiffer penalties for those arrested during riots and holding local governments accountable if they order police to stand down during protests that turn chaotic.

According to the governor, this will allow people to sue local governments for injuries or property damage sustained during these types of incidents.

DeSantis said the law also prevents local governments from defunding law enforcement agencies, and said the idea to do so is “insane.”

“It allows the state to stop cities from cutting funding to police and puts local government on the hook if they ask police to stand down,” the governor said.

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