Florida governor signs ‘anti-riot’ bill

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WFLA/NBC) – Florida has a controversial new law aimed at cracking down on violent protests.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the legislation, nicknamed the “Anti-Riot bill,” into law Monday morning.

The bill, which goes into effect immediately, makes violent and disorderly protests illegal in the state of Florida and also makes it more difficult for cities and counties to reduce funding for law enforcement.

The bill comes just days before a verdict is expected in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Authorities say they still encourage people to peacefully protest, but violent public disturbances are unacceptable.

Opponents of the bill say it violates protesters’ First Amendment rights but Governor Ron DeSantis says that it’s a vision to maintain Florida as a law and order state after disorder in across the nation last summer.

DeSantis said, “So, I think this bill that I’ll sign into law shows the state of Florida takes public safety very seriously. We believe in making sure that our streets are safe. I want to make sure that our cities are prosperous. i want to make sure folks are protected and there should be no doubt the minute I sign this bill into law anybody who wears the uniform in service of protecting the public, this bill will make very clear, the state of Florida stands with you.”

The bill also enhances penalties for people who commit crimes during a riot.

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