Radioactivity Friday: Florida House takes up controversial bill that would criminalize protest

Confederate memorial Tampa
Protest against Confederate memorial on the grounds of Hillsborough County administrative courthouse in Tampa, Florida. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (27 June 2017).

March 19, 2021

Good Morning, welcome to Radioactivity.  I’m Rob Lorei.

The Florida House will consider a controversial bill next week that would increase penalties on protests. Democrats and others argue the measure would violate First Amendment rights and have a chilling effect on peaceful protests.

The bill (HB 1),is  a priority of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is scheduled to be heard next Thursday on the House floor.

Governor DeSantis began pushing for such legislation last year after widespread Black Lives Matter protests across the country over police treatment of African Americans.

Florida largely escaped the scenes of looting and torched buildings that occurred in such cities as Minneapolis and Portland. But DeSantis contends that Florida should enact tough penalties for violent protests to ensure the safety of citizens and tourists.

As an indication of the opposition, the House Democratic Caucus voted 41-0 to take a position against to the bill.

Our guest today is Micah Kubic, executive director of the Florida ACLU. The civil liberties group has come out against HB1 and its senate companion.

Listen to the full show here:

More WMNF coverage of HB 1 here:

….and here:


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