JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The controversial “anti-mob” bill, or House Bill 1, will reach the Senate floor. Those against the bill rallied in downtown Jacksonville on Saturday.
It’s one step away from the governor’s desk.
“I think it is high time we pass this bill,” said Dean Black, RNC chairman.
The controversial HB 1, or “anti-mob” bill, was approved by a Senate committee Friday and was protested in Jacksonville yet again Saturday.
“Things like this are really scary,” said Christina Kittle, of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee. “They are just designed to intimidate people and stop us from taking the streets and stop us from assembling as a community.”
In September, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act.
“Gov. DeSantis and our Republicans in the legislature are going to make sure that First Amendment rights are protected, but the right to riot doesn’t exist in this state,” Black said.
This comes just a few months after civil rights protests across the country where some of them were violent.
It increases misdemeanor crimes to felonies, denies bail for people arrested during protests, treats organizers or those who fund violent protests as members of organized crime, and removes liability for drivers who hit protesters during a march.
“It’s a bad faith bill,” Kittle said. “It was drafted in hindsight after all the progress that we made last summer, taking the streets for justice for people who were slain by the police.”
Republicans said they believe the bill will pass because it’s the right thing to do.
“The right of free speech does not involve the right to destroy property,” Black said.
The bill also would prohibit state grants or aid to local governments that cut police budgets.
Dozens of people urged legislators to vote against this bill, and groups said they’ll keep fighting and will put pressure on the Senate next week to reject it.