DeSantis sued over new ‘anti-riot’ law


Florida Governor, Ron Desantis has been sued by a social justice group two days after the Republican signed a bill to create tougher penalties for people who participate in violent protests.

On Wednesday, Legacy Entertainment & Arts Foundation, a non-profit group filed the lawsuit  in Orlando federal court, according to court records.

It argues the new law violates First Amendment protections for free speech, Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment and 14th Amendment protections of due process.

“The breathtaking scope of the Bill includes granting civil immunity to people who drive into peaceful demonstrators if such demonstration blocks a road, prevents people accused of ‘rioting’ from bailing out of jail until after their first court appearance, increases penalties for assaulting law enforcement officers while engaging in a ‘riot,’ penalizing local governments that interfere with efforts to stop a ‘riot,’ and allows law enforcement agencies that face funding reductions to file objections,” the complaint stated.

Governor Ron DeSantis spokesman Cody McCloud said the governor’s office hasn’t yet been served in the case but will firmly defend the legal merits of the new law, which McCloud said protects businesses, supports law enforcement and ensures punishment for those who cause violence.

The  anti-riot bill that Governor Ron DeSantis signed on Monday was a response to nationwide demonstrations that occurred in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Most of the protests against racial injustice were peaceful, but some turned violent. After the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, Republicans pushing the legislation used it as an example to support the effort.

Opponents of the bill said it was a racist reaction to a problem that hasn’t occurred in Florida. They saw it as an attempt to squash the voices of groups like Black Lives Matter.

The new law enhances penalties for crimes committed during a riot or violent protest. It allows authorities to hold arrested protesters until a first court appearance and establishes new felonies for organizing or participating in a violent demonstration.

It also strips local governments of civil liability protections if they interfere with law enforcement’s efforts to respond to a violent protest and adds language to state law that could force local governments to justify a reduction in law enforcement budgets.

It also makes it a second-degree felony to destroy or demolish a memorial, plaque, flag, painting, structure or other object that commemorates historical people or events. That would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Florida sues federal government


The Joe Biden administration is being sued by the state of Florida to reopen the cruise industry “immediately” and allow cruises to “resume safely,” Florida’s governor and attorney general announced Thursday.

“We don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data. And I think we have a good chance for success,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference at the Port of Miami.
On Thursday, the complaint was filed by state Attorney General Ashley Moody in federal district court against the Health and Human Services Department and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our litigation seeks to end this federal overreach and allow Floridians to safely get back to work and travel,” Moody said in a statement.
Florida is asking the court to block the CDC and HHS from enforcing an October “conditional sailing” order, which it suggested is effectively a ban on cruises, and “hold that cruises should be allowed to operate with reasonable safety protocols.”
“The CDC has continued these actions against the cruise industry even as it has treated similar industries differently, including ones that hold passengers in close quarters,” the complaint says, pointing to the CDC’s treatment of the airline industry.

The CDC on Friday put out direction laying out how it hopes to permit a resumption of sailings – suggesting, instead of requiring, that travelers be inoculated. The office said it needed to see “reenacted (preliminary) journeys that will permit group and port faculty to rehearse new Covid-19 operational techniques with volunteers prior to cruising with travelers.”

The CDC didn’t give a date it intends to permit US sailings again interestingly since March 2020.

In its complaint, the Florida attorney general’s office pointed to President Joe Biden’s deadline for all US adults to be eligible for Covid vaccines by April 19 and noted that Americans are traveling again, with other industries, like hotels and restaurants, safely reopening.
“But as these industries begin to restart and rebuild, the cruise industry has been singled out, and unlike the rest of America, prevented from reopening,” it said.
Governor Ron DeSantis said that tens of thousands of Floridians depend on the “viability of the cruise industry for their livelihoods, for their jobs, their ability to feed their families.”
The Cruise Lines International Association, an industry exchange bunch, said in an explanation Thursday that it’s “thankful for Governor DeSantis’ help of the voyage local area and we like his endeavors to restart cruising securely.”
“Tens of thousands of Floridians rely on cruising for their livelihoods, including longshoremen, taxi drivers, travel agents and tour operators, ports, and numerous suppliers and vendors that make the cruise industry work,” the group said. “Ultimately, the CDC and the entire U.S. cruise community want the same thing — the responsible resumption of cruising from the U.S. this summer.”