Every Florida governor aspires to the legacy thing.
Leroy Collins steered Florida out of segregation with little of the turmoil that beset other southern states.
Claude Kirk was Florida’s first “green” governor. He thought the Everglades was worth saving, not exploiting.
Jeb Bush broke the public school monopoly and made choice a Florida option.
And now Gov. Ron DeSantis is staking out his legacy thing.
He is turning Florida into a police state.
“It is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country. There’s just nothing even close,” DeSantis bragged as he signed his signature House Bill 1 into law.
Ron’s law, notes the New York Times, codifies “the hyperbolic message Republicans have been pushing in the 11 months since Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice swept the country: that Democrats are tolerant of violent and criminal actions from those who protest against racial injustice. “
Oh, and did we mention that Gov. Ron has higher….um, ambitions?
Make no mistake. Even peaceful protests, such as the one that drew thousands to downtown Gainesville last year, can now be turned into a “riot situation” at the discretion of law enforcement.
And don’t look to your local elected officials to protect you from excessive policing going forward.
Ron’s law “prevents local governments from reducing funding for law enforcement for any reason…” reports the news organization Florida Phoenix.
On the plus side, there is an…um…economic development aspect to Gov. Ron’s police state law.
“You could literally kill a community overnight by closing a prison,” Levy County Commissioner John Meeks told lawmakers when rural counties learned that the state planned to close four prisons.
Ron to the Prison Pipeline rescue.
The problem is that, with decriminalizing drugs and whatnot, Florida’s prison-pipeline threatens to slow to a trickle.
But not to worry, the police war on protestors will kick the pipeline into overdrive again. There will be felonies galore to feed the pipeline.
“No one who fought against that legislation is advocating for violence. To the contrary, Florida’s statutes were replete with criminal sanctions to punish those who would do harm or cause damage in the name of protest, well before Gov. DeSantis hatched his anti-protest bill. But this new law sweeps up everyone in its path, even those caught up in a melee through no fault of their own. It is an affront to the First Amendment rights of every citizen in this state, and it is meant solely to clamp down on the voices raised to fight unequal justice.” This from Gary Farmer, Democratic caucus leader in the state senate.”
Meanwhile, to celebrate his police state legacy thing, DeSantis took a victory lap on…where else?…Fox News.
“ I don’t know what happened with that verdict, but if that’s something that can potentially happen, where you basically have justice meted out because the jury is scared of what a mob may do — and, again, I’m not saying that’s what happened here, but that speaker seemed to suggest that that had an impact — that’s completely antithetical to the rule of law,” DeSantis said of the Chauvin guilty verdict.
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.