DORAL, Fla. – Social action groups are calling on Florida corporations to fight along with them over two Florida legislative bills, some of the most controversial this session.
HS Bill 1, the protest bill, cracks down on mob violence and the elections bill tightens rules for voting. Both are in the crosshairs of social action groups who feel targeted by the proposed new rules and are getting little traction in Tallahassee.
The groups know that money talks in Tallahassee.
“Some of these are companies that have actually contributed to the very sponsors to these bills,” said Cliff Albright of the Black Voters Matter Fund.
Seven Florida companies are the campaign targets, collectively worth millions in campaign contributions: Publix, Disney, Universal Studios, Darden Restaurants, Sea World, Office Depot and Geo Group.
The protest bill stiffens penalties for violence and vandalism done during protests.
Does it make protesting safer? Or chill free speech? Depends on your perspective.
State Representative Daniel Perez (R-Miami-Dade) says: “This is for the bad actors, those who are acting violent or are inciting violence. If you’re not one of those two, this bill will help you because it will protect you.”
SB 90, among other things, puts more restrictions on vote by mail. Does it protect fair elections? Or suppress votes? Depends on your perspective.
“We’re calling on Florida’s business community to stand up for Democracy in Florida,” said Shawn Shaw of People Over Profits.
And if they don’t?
“Anything’s on the table if these companies don’t respond,” Albright said.
We reached out to all seven of those companies on Wednesday and none of them responded.