New legislation signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) earlier this week increases criminal penalties for crimes committed during protests. DeSantis called it “the strongest anti-looting, anti-rioting, pro-law-enforcement piece of legislation in the country,” MSNBC reports, and it may be part of a trend in Republican-led states, The New York Times writes.
One of the most notable aspects of the law is that tearing down monuments, including Confederate ones, is now a second-degree felony offense, meaning anyone who is charged with doing so would face a maximum of 15 years in prison, the Times reports.
On the other hand, the legislation provides some extra protection for people who injure protesters by ramming into them with their car. If protesters block a road, MSNBC notes, Florida drivers who plow their vehicle into them can claim self-defense, giving them civil (as opposed to criminal) liability protection. That “all but [invites] people to commit vehicular homicide,” Paul Waldman argued in The Washington Post. Read more about Florida’s anti-protest law at MSNBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.