Florida Senate passes ‘anti-riot’ bill, moves to Gov. DeSantis’ desk

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – HB 1, the controversial legislation seeking to increase penalties for crimes committed during a riot supported by Governor Ron DeSantis passed in the Florida Senate on Thursday.

Republicans say HB 1 is about public safety and cracking down on protests that escalate to violent riots. Some protests in Tampa turned violent during this summer following the death of George Floyd. Meanwhile, Democrats opened their remarks with a symbolic gesture, speaking for the same length of time as George Floyd laid with a knee on his neck last summer in Minnesota.

The bill lays out the definition of a riot, raises penalties for crimes committed during a riot and creates a process for state attorneys to challenge budget reductions to law enforcement.

The final vote in the Senate was 23-17 in favor of HB 1, State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas) was a notable no vote.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been pushing hard for the passing of the bill, has yet to release a statement but had previously said that he believed lawmakers would reach a deal on the legislation by the end of the session.

DeSantis is expected to sign the bill.

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