TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate Appropriations Committee today voted to pass House Bill 1 (HB 1), Gov. DeSantis’ anti-protest bill. The measure passed aims to silence, criminalize, and penalize Floridians for exercising their First Amendment right to protest. If signed into law, peaceful protesters could be arrested and imprisoned for up to five years and lose their voting rights, even if they didn’t engage in any violent and disorderly conduct. It will also increase violence at protests and embolden vigilantes by shielding them from civil liability if they kill or injure protesters, protect confederate monuments, and allow the Governor to overrule local budgetary decisions.
HB1 will now be heard on the full Senate floor and one step closer to reaching the Governor’s desk.
Micah Kubic, executive director, ACLU of Florida responded to today’s vote saying:
“HB 1 is a direct attack on the First Amendment. It is designed to stifle Floridians’ right to peacefully assemble and seek change in their democracy. For these past several weeks, legislators have been hearing opposition to these harmful bills from Floridians of all walks of life. Nearly everyone who has testified has strongly opposed this bill for an array of reasons. For the bill’s nearly certain disproportionate impact on people of color, for the cost it will impose on our state's economy, and for the simple fact that it will deter free speech. And yet, certain legislators believe that their own views matter more than those of their constituents and fellow Floridians.
“Though it is disappointing the bill has passed this committee today, we will not stay silent. We will not allow politicians to meddle with Floridians’ constitutional rights. We still have a chance to stop this bill and we, along with thousands of Floridians, call on the full Senate to stop this bill.”