Gov. DeSantis signs ‘anti-riot’ bill into law in Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Polk County on Monday to sign the controversial “anti-riot” bill into law.

The governor, along with Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Sen. Danny Burgess, Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin, Sheriff Grady Judd and more made the announcement at 10 a.m. at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Winter Haven.

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The state Senate approved the measure Thursday afternoon.

The bill creates a new crime called “mob intimidation.” It also enhances penalties for existing riot-related offenses and will make it harder for cities to cut law enforcement spending.

READ: Florida Senate approves anti-protest bill with Gov. DeSantis set to sign it

Critics say it will limit free speech and have a negative impact on protesters.

Those in favor say it will simply punish violent protesters.

Click here to watch updates on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.