Tallahassee files suit challenging Florida’s anti-riot law

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 8:38 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The City of Tallahassee and eight other municipalities have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s new anti-riot law.

The 60-page lawsuit was filed in Leon County Circuit Court Tuesday.

Tallahassee, Gainesville, Lake Worth Beach, Lauderhill, Miramar, North Bay Village, North Miami, North Miami Beach and Wilton Manors are all named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Governor and Cabinet.

House Bill 1 entitled “Combating Public Disorder’ was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in April 2021.

The law raises penalties for protestors who damage property or resort to violence and gives the state authority to intervene when local municipalities reduce police spending.

“The governor and cabinet do not have any legal authority to force a city to increase its law enforcement spending when the city decides funds would be better spent elsewhere,” Tallahassee City Commissioner Jack Porter said Tuesday just hours after the suit was filed.

Porter is among those speaking out against what she contends is an unconstitutional overreach into local budgeting decisions.

“We are elected by our constituents and entrusted by them to make informed budget decisions including whether to increase or decrease our law enforcement funding based on the best interests and needs of our communities and those decisions should not be illegally pre-empted by the political whims of state officials,” Porter said.

The Tallahassee City Commission voted unanimously to join the lawsuit on October 13, citing home rule provisions in Florida’s Constitution.

Governor DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw telling WCTV Tuesday afternoon, “We are evaluating the lawsuit and look forward to defending HB1 in court.”

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