DeSantis-backed “anti-riot” bill heads to the Senate floor after a hot and long debate

Amid heightened political pressure, Republican-led Senate committees on Friday rejected all Democratic attempts to narrow legislation and then put a “rebellion” bill backed by Governor Ron DeSantis on all floors of the Senate. I resolved to send it.

Democrats on the Senate Expenditure Committee couldn’t stop the bill, but they were able to gain support for studies examining the racial impact of the proposed law.

Invoice (HB 1) Tightens penalties for numerous crimes committed during protests, and opposition argues that its broad definition could lead to racial disparity if the bill is finally enacted. ..

“People across Florida are worried about the chilling effect of the bill,” said Senator Darryl Rouson of R-St. Petersburg. “This will lead to misuse of the law, and we know that black and brown people suffer disproportionately because we saw it.”

Senator Bobby Powell of D-West Palm Beach said these by proposing words that would require the state to collect data and study the racial and ethnic implications of the proposed law. I tried to ease my concerns.

Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Triruby) and bill sponsor Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) agreed that the racial impact of the bill should be investigated, but another path He said he should follow. Bipartisan concerns about the governor’s legislative priorities were indirect approval.

“We sincerely agree that we should see this,” Burgess told Powell. “It’s my honest and sincere commitment, because if there is a disparity, if this is happening, I need to study it and stop it.”

Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said Simpson will instruct the Florida state legislature’s research department to conduct an investigation, but details have yet to be determined.

Politics or good policy?

The battle for Desantis’ top priorities is Behind the scenes jockey During the first half of the legislative session. With the remaining three-week session, tensions were fully visible during the eight-hour meeting at the Senate Expenditure Committee.

Jason Pizzo, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee of the Democratic Party of Miami, told Burgess that he refused to hear the bill at the committee.

After a series of intense questions led by Pizzo, Burgess admitted that the governor played a role in the legislative process.

Burgess added that Desantis wants to go further than the proposal currently under consideration.Last September, the Desantis office dispatched the House of Representatives and the Senate. Bills, including an extension of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Act..

However, Burgess said, “I felt that some parts of the bill didn’t fit.”

Former prosecutor Pizzo argued that the bill was problematic because it was too broad and would make arrests and convictions subjective as it is written today. However, Burgess says the legislative intent of the bill should be enacted in court.

“You believe in legislative intent far more than textualism,” Pizzo said. “I’m very concerned that the court may not see the text of the bill, but what it discusses here today.”

Textualism is a legal philosophy that makes judicial decisions based on the text of the law, rather than relying on the decisions of other courts for guidance. It is endorsed by the Conservative Party and the Federalist Association, a group drawn by President Donald Trump to make his own judicial appointment. DeSantis was a member of the Federalist Association while attending Harvard Law School and He frequently cites the doctrine of “suppression” in the judiciary To make his claim that the judge has too much power.

“I won’t blame you for not knowing the nuances of criminal law and its application,” Pizzo said. “But I’m wrong on the assumption that you don’t understand what this means for black and brown teenager applications.”

Where the Republican Party stands

After hearing from more than 60 individuals, the Republicans all opposed the proposal and faced a vote.

“The worst secret in this room is that we need two Republicans. To ask who we serve and to triage and prioritize, we need two Republicans,” Pizzo said. Says.

In the end, the bill passed the Senate Expenditure Committee with all Democrats and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg voted against the bill.

Senate Expenditure Committee Chairman Kelly Stargel, R-Lakeland, understands concerns about the racial impact of the bill, but the reason for supporting the bill is to protect property and prevent anxiety. Said the body.

“This bill talks about riots and destroying people’s personal belongings,” Stargel said. “I have all the rights to speech and protest. When someone kneels down during the national anthem, I protect their right to speech as much as I don’t like it.”

Invoice, Above allStrengthens criminal penalties for crimes committed during protests that become violent. It turns many misdemeanors, including property crimes, into felony and creates new crimes against “mob threats” and the practice of exposing and harassing someone’s personal information (often known as bleaching).

In addition, anyone who unauthorizedly destroys a monument of any kind “dedicated to a historical figure, entity, event, or sequence of events” faces two felony charges, up to 15 years in prison.

The bill also creates a six-month compulsory minimum sentence for police officers, increasing punishment for robbery and large-scale theft when a crime is committed by three or more people.

“When such behavior happens, it goes against everyone. It doesn’t fit a particular person or race. They burn someone’s building and someone’s car,” Stargel said. Said. “That’s all about the bill. Let’s not lose it in a conversation between race and the right to stand up.”

Republican Brandes, who has long promoted criminal justice reform, said the bill’s paradigm was that it was clearly partisan and could not deal with public security in a way that reassured him.

“There are some positive aspects to the bill, but the concerns that individuals attract far outweigh them,” Brandes said. “I think the bill goes deep into the current political situation and I hope the Senate won’t.”

Senator Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, appeared to be walking the delicate line between yes and no while discussing the bill. He shared a personal anecdote about his youth and witnessed a “racist society” in person.

“I grew up. I have vivid memories of my childhood that fountains, toilets, cafe entrances, buses and schools weren’t integrated,” says Hooper. “I grew up in a racist society. I admit it, and I don’t like it. I heard n-word 5 million times when I was young.”

Hooper finally voted in favor of the bill because he believed he “needed to do something” about the violence seen during the January 6 assault on the US Capitol.

“I think I need to do something,” Hooper said. “I don’t know where the balance is. I don’t know.”