Florida Anti Riot Bill


There has been massive uproar over a new Florida law. This law has been called an attack on freedoms. It is said to inhibit freedom of speech and assembly. It is said it will be used disproportionately to arrest peaceful leftist protesters. They say it infringes on constitutional rights and will be used to stop the BLM activists. The law is called oppressive and authoritarian, but these are all complete and utter lies. HB1, which was signed into law on April 19, does none of these things. It only serves to protect people. 

The opponents point to a part that makes it unlawful for people to peacefully block roadways. This argument is very much exaggerated. HB1 makes this a pedestrian violation. A pedestrian violation is the same thing as a traffic violation and results in a fine. This makes sense and it is definitely a proportional punishment. These opponents also say it keeps people from confronting politicians in restaurants or on the streets. This is a misnomer, as CS/HB1 makes it illegal for three or more people to intimidate or threaten the use of violence to force an action. It does not stop you from talking to them. 

There are two other major arguments against the bill. One is that it gives immunity to people who run through protestors in their car. This is not true. HB1 gives civil immunity to those who inflict harm on those participating in a riot by proof of conviction or a rioting charge or preponderance of evidence of such an action. There are also arguments over restricting freedoms of speech on the internet. In all actuality it makes it unlawful for anyone to post personal information of someone else for the purpose of doing harm or having a third party do harm to that person. The opponents of this bill simply seek to use false arguments to complain about a bill that prevents terrorists from attacking random innocent citizens. 

The majority of the law increases penalties for crimes involved with riots. The bill also defines several new charges. These are rioting, aggravated rioting, inciting a riot, and aggravated inciting of a riot. Complaints have arisen over this as it is said it will be used to target peaceful protestors. The law targets those who commit crimes in furtherance of a riot. I will however admit that the requirements for a riot are a little low. The conditions are three or more persons involved in a violent disturbance for a common goal of the group. I would want the number of people required to be increased. Most significantly though is that it makes many crimes being committed during a riot or state of emergency more serious under the law. Many have become felonies. There is no problem with this. It makes these crimes rightfully serious. The criminals should be arrested. 

There is one very, very, important part of the law that is going under reported. The most important part of the law, in my opinion, makes municipalities civilly liable for any damages or injury sustained during a riot if the municipality stops law enforcement from using available force to stop the riot. This means that if the mayor or other government officials stop the police from doing their job and protecting the people the government has to pay for the damages that were caused by their ineptitude. This is by far the best and most important part of CS/HB1. This should be passed in every state.

There is another very important section of the Florida Bill. It involves the defunding of local police. The law outlines a system of appeals for areas that seek to defund their police departments. The appeal is sent to state officials for review and the decision for defunding the police can be overturned, amended, or sustained. While it does take away some control from the local governments it helps to protect the people by sustaining the necessary law enforcement infrastructures needed to maintain order. 

Overall CS/HB1 is a great law with very, very, very few problems. It does not restrict rights in any way. The law protects the people of Florida and helps to ensure that order is maintained. I would encourage similar bills to be passed in every single state, and they might be passed in most of them. Currently 34 states are considering similar laws to this Florida masterpiece. If they are as good as CS/HB1 they should all pass.