• Florida Policy Watch

HB1 Legislative Alert: House Pushing Anti-Protest Agenda

March 4. 2021- Despite an overwhelming outcry from individuals and organizations across the state, Florida’s House Justice Appropriations committee passed the DeSantis’ Anti-Protest Bill (HB1) on to its next committee.

Video documenting Florida Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression outcry against HB1/SB 484.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Just one day after hundreds gathered from across Florida on the steps of the Florida Capitol, risking their lives and missing work to demontrate their outrage at the proposed anti-protest legislation, the Florida House Justice Appropriations Committee passed the bill forward on a party line vote.

According to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Florida's anti-protest bill is just one of 64 pending bills in 29 states across the nation in an all out assault on free speech and civil rights activism in defense of Black Lives. Many states are fighting multiple bills on different fronts. Oklahoma alone is battling 10 separate bills. As is typical of the corporae backed American Legislative Exchange Council, author of Stand Your Ground and the Right to Work bills, many of the anti-protest model bills use the exact same language and have the same purpose - to shut down dissent and uphold white corporate privilege and power. All of the anti-protest bills target peaceful protest but hide that in inflammatory language about "riots" and "mobs rule". Most of the bills raise mandatory minumum sentencing for unlawful assembly and push pre-emption clauses that restrict the ability of local municipalities to defund the police without losing state funding.

The organized by ALEC and their corporate-back legislators has an organized response from black and brown leadership and legislators across the state. At the Florida Capitol on Tuesday, March 2nd, newly seated community organizer turned politician, Representive Angie Nixon targeted Governor Ron DeSantis' involvement. She stated:

"We need to take back the Governor's mansion and take back these seats so that we can ensure our children don't have to be fighting this same fight. I have a five month old girl, ya'll, and I don't want her to be fighting this same fight." (Click HERE to view the speech)

On activist from Miami told a harrowing story about a hate crime attack where he managed to get free of his attackers, call friends, and challenge those who beat him up only to be targeted and charged by the police after they found out he was a political activist. At the end of his testimony he stated:

"Black and brown bodies, queer bodies, trans bodies, bodies of different physical ability and bodies of non-christian faith are under constant attack. We are constantly singled out and exploited and transformed into a cautionary tale in the blink of an eye. Organization and activism is effectively an act of unionization for the affected populace. [When we organize] we are saying, as all unions do that as a single incident no one will take notice but as a group we bring power to the collective to demand what is right. What is fair. What is just." (Click HERE to view the speech)

The protest, taking place in 50 degree weather, went on for over 2 hours featuring black, brown, queer, transgender, and student voices across the state. Only feet away in the Senate and House bills protecting corporations and government entities from liability for gross negligence were being passed and anti-LGBTQ bills were being passed in both chambers. Despite this, the resounding message of the coalition rally was "We will not be silenced," "We will win" because "the people united will never be defeated."

Take ACTION on this bill by sending an email to the House bill sponsors and co-sponsrs and the next committee stop in the House, the Judiciary Committee:

Sign up to get more involved and attend coalition calls and find out how you can help protect free speech in Florida and support the Florida Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression in their efforts to end racist legislation across the state fill OUT THIS FORM.

Florida Policy Action Network is a project of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and the Florida People's Advocacy Center. We combine movement research, public policy analysis, and citizen supported advocacy and action to change the way elected officals in Florida debate issues that directly impact the state's most marginalized and oppressed. Our work needs your support. Please consider making a tax deductable donation today.

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