Last Friday, HB 1 -- the"anti protest" bill -- was moved to the Senate Appropriations committee where Kelli Stargel is Chair! If the House bill language is adopted, the companion bill SB 484, which has not yet been heard in a committee, is a moot point and the Senate can move ahead with HB 1 in a floor vote before sending it to the Governor for approval. HB 1 is not yet on the Senate Appropriations schedule, but I expect we will see it scheduled for next week.
We previously sent out talking points regarding HB 1 which I am again including below:
This bill was initially conceptualized by Gov. DeSantis as a backlash to Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests during the summer, even though these protests remained mostly peaceful, especially in Florida.
Violent behavior during public protests is already illegal under Florida law, but HB 1 would go beyond and seek to:
Expand penalties against anyone affiliated with a protest that becomes "disorderly;"
Mandate that anyone arrested at a protest would be detained until their first court appearance;
Protect Confederate monuments;
Prevent local community decisions from modifying law enforcement activities;
Provide protections for people who drive into a peaceful demonstration and "accidentally" run over a protester obstructing a public roadway.
According to the most recent Florida House Staff Analysis, this bill may have a negative fiscal impact on the Florida Department of Corrections and local governments due to:
The creation of new felony offenses relating to public disorder that will require more prison beds, and
The creation of new misdemeanor offenses that will require more jail beds for those arrested and held over until their first appearance hearings.
Please contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee below ASAP and urge 1) Chair Stargel to refrain from hearing this bill; and 2) contact the other members to vote "NO" on this anti-democratic bill if it is scheduled.
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