Without question, the most controversial bill that could (expect it to) land on Gov. Ron DeSantis's desk this legislative session is the Combating Disorder Disorder (HB 1) measure.
Gov. DeSantis has already said that he would sign the bill into law once it made it through the legislative process, and while the measure’s wording reads that anyone, regardless of race or color, that is caught “engaging in disorderly & violent conduct” will face stricter penalties, Democratic lawmakers believe it targets Black Americans.
HB 1 was penned in the fall of 2020 after the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots that were fueled by that movement’s criminal faction and Left-Wing (mostly white)provocateurs and rioters, including individuals who belong to the ANTIFA movement
“Let’s be extremely clear about something this is a blatant overreach from the Governor and Republicans who are actively undermining the Constitution,” said then-State Rep. Shevrin Jones about the proposed legislation during a virtual meeting Tuesday afternoon. “We will not go down without a fight.”
That is the narrative that Democratic lawmakers are pushing, but not all Democrats believe that the bill targets Blacks.
One Democratic legislator who spoke to The Floridian on condition of anonymity disagrees that HB 1 was written specifically to target Blacks, saying that his colleagues are “pushing a false narrative” and are “using race to further their opposition to the bill.”
A day after the Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., incoming Speaker of the Florida House Chris Sprowls (R) tweeted:
“We will not stand for violence and destruction in Florida. We’re done playing with criminals who terrorize communities. You’re not welcome here.”
Speaker Sprowls’ statement appears to have targeted all “criminals” of all walks of life, and color.
Democrats are standing together against the measure, but while all oppose it, some could appear to be willing to listen to amendments to the bill.
The Floridian also spoke to State Senator Lauren Book (D) who said that no one should ever “be allowed to hit law enforcement” and that “there are parts of that bill that are good.
Sen. Book recalled her “Walk in my shoes” walk where she says that if HB 1 was in place, she would have been arrested.
“I would have been arrested if the bill existed when I did the walk,” said Book. “I would have been arrested, so I think it goes too far. I think that nobody should be hitting, hurting, or assaulting law enforcement.”
Here is how the bill is summarized:
Authorizes residents of municipality to file an appeal to Administration Commission if municipality makes reduction to budget of municipal law enforcement agency; revises provisions prohibiting obstructing traffic; provides for cause of action against municipality for failing to provide law enforcement protection during riot; revises penalty for assault or battery committed in furtherance of riot or aggravated riot; revises minimum term of imprisonment for battery on law enforcement officer in furtherance of riot; revises prohibition on damaging memorial; revises penalties for burglary or theft during riot & facilitated by riot; revises prohibition on fighting in public place; prohibits specified assemblies from engaging in disorderly & violent conduct; prohibits inciting or encouraging riot; creates affirmative defense to civil action where plaintiff participated in riot or unlawful assembly.