President Trump made a bold move as he designated his White House Director of the Office of Management to review and set out new guidelines for federal funding. In particular, Trump wants to withhold federal funding for anarchist cities that have misused taxpayer dollars while failing to keep their citizens safe. Monday, the Department of Justice deemed Seattle, Portland, and New York City as “anarchist jurisdictions.”
But state governors are also moving to protect the police and hold local governments accountable for their failure to keep the peace. Governor DeSantis from Florida introduced what he calls “bold legislation” that will lead to serious repercussions for local governments that try to defund law enforcements from the pressure of activists.
In a tweet, DeSantis said, “Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe.”
The legislation poses serious legal ramifications for those who riot. While cities like New York have been criticized by the president for allowing those caught rioting to get off without any legal charges, DeSantis is sending a clear message to those who live in Florida that that type of behavior will not be tolerated. For example, a third degree felony will now be charged when seven or more people are involved in an “assembly” that leads to property damage or an injury to another person. A second degree felony will be charged to any person who damages public property, and a first degree misdemeanor will be charged to a person involved in a “violent assembly” who harasses or intimidates a person “at a public accomodation” which includes a restaurant.
Furthermore, the legislation introduces jail time for any person who strikes a law enforcement officer “during a violent or disorderly assembly.” The jail time is six months.
DeSantis also made a serious move to protect the police. The legislation will prohibit any state grants to local governments that move to defund the police in any measure. It also protects the local government from lawsuits from individuals who have participated in an “unlawful assembly.” And if you participate in an “unlawful assembly,” the individual will be stripped from an employment by state or local unemployment or government benefits. And finally, the legislation ensures that no bond or bail will be allowed for a crime related to “violent or disorderly conduct,” while participating in an unlawful assembly.
The Republican governor’s legislation is sending a clear message to all Floridians that the type of behavior tolerated in New York, Seattle, and Portland will not happen in his state. As Americans across the country worry about their safety in their neighborhoods, DeSantis is securing his state and laying out strict guidelines for what will happen if individuals try disrupt the peace through the means of a “peaceful protest.”
Why this matters: DeSantis made a mark on the direction of Florida when he won his election, and the same state is one of the most crucial battlegrounds for 2020. Biden is spending big in Florida for November, but the governor, who is aligned with Trump, will play a crucial role in who his citizens vote for. Through his gesture of standing with law enforcement, he is standing with Trump’s law and order message, and it will have an impact on all those who live in his state.