SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday said he plans to follow through with his proposal to use money coming to Florida from a federal stimulus package to provide first responders with $1,000 bonuses for their work during the pandemic.
Surrounded by applauding police officers in front of the Satellite Beach Police Department, DeSantis said the bonuses for every sworn law enforcement officer, emergency medical technician, firefighter and paramedic in the state will be included in the state budget which he plans to sign in the coming weeks.
“I thought it was important to recognize the service, to recognize the sacrifice, and I asked the legislature in this legislative session, we need to do bonuses for law enforcement,” DeSantis said. “Some wanted to defund the police, we’re funding the police, and then some.”
More than $200 million will be used to cover the one-time payments.
He added that the mission has been accomplished on a lot of what his administration set out to do to support law enforcement during the recently closed session.
He also applauded the passing of a controversial bill that he and other Republicans branded as the “anti-riot bill,” a law that opponents say has to potential to infringe on First Amendment rights.
“We had a very strong provision in [HB 1] that said, we are not going to let local governments defund law enforcement, we’re going to make sure at the state level we protect our communities. If you try to do it, we’re gonna fight back, and we’re gonna defend the people of this state,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said it was important to recognize law enforcement ahead of National Police Week which begins Monday.
Under the plan proposed in March, half of the money coming to Florida from a federal stimulus package will also be used to bulk up infrastructure, bolster efforts to fight rising sea levels and fix the troubled unemployment system.
DeSantis also proposed a $1,000 bonus for public school principals and full-time classroom teachers for grades Pre-K through 12 who have been a part of a historic and challenging school year.