- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2020

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday unveiled legislation that would stop state funding to any cities or jurisdictions that slash law enforcement budgets.

The Republican governor also proposed new, tougher penalties for protesters who engage in violence or vandalism.

“We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe,” Mr. DeSantis said in a tweet announcing his new proposals.

Mr. DeSantis proposed a new list of state felony charges against protesters who engage in violent or disruptive behavior. The charges can be lodged against people who block traffic, harass people in a private establishment or assault members of law enforcement.

He also introduced enhanced penalties for existing felonies, including a mandatory minimum jail sentence for anyone who strikes or throws an object at a police officer during a riot or protest.

Under Mr. DeSantis’ measures, any state or local government employee convicted of a crime related to “a violent or disorderly assembly” can be fired. It also makes an individual with such a conviction on their record ineligible for state government employment.

The bill comes as cities across the country, including in Florida, have been roiled by violent protests against police brutality since the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody in May.

It is unlikely that Mr. DeSantis’ proposals will advance because Democrats control the Florida Senate, one of the two chambers that govern the state.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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