After fierce debate in the House about a law-and-order bill that is a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the focus is ready to shift to the Senate.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled Friday to take up the bill (HB 1), which is aimed at cracking down on violent protests by creating a host of new crimes and enhancing riot-related penalties. DeSantis began floating the idea for the legislation last year after protests throughout the country sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The Republican-controlled House passed the bill March 26 in a party-line vote, with Black lawmakers arguing the measure poses a threat to civil disobedience and that it wouldn’t be applied equally to Black and white protesters.
A Senate version of the bill had been stuck in a committee, but Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, used a procedural move to assign the House bill to the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee has scheduled an all-day meeting Friday to consider the bill and also has set aside time Saturday if needed, according to a Senate calendar published Tuesday.
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