On Friday, March 26, House Bill 1, also known as “Combating Public Disorder”, passed with a vote of 76-to-39 in the Florida House of Representatives. What public disorder is this bill combatting? Well, as vague as the bill sounds, it addresses public protests.
“HB1 is a direct response to the Black Lives Matter protests from this summer,” Alyssa Ackbar, state director of March For Our Lives, said. “You know, protests calling for racial equity. And instead of focusing on the issues that make people want to protest in the first place, Governor DeSantis is pushing HB1 through the legislature…This bill is very much an attack on Black and Brown organizers and protesters in the state, because, you know, during the summer we saw a mass of people making their voices heard and that really scared elected officials.”
If this bill passes in the Senate, this could pose a huge problem for the rest of America. Protests are the most effective and essential form of activism and have proven themselves to be the fire under the behinds of legislators. HB-1 passing in Florida can and will give many other states (who have openly opposed protesting either by violent or verbal means) the agency to follow suit and pass the same bill, severing the main channel of change we as the people have.
This past year, we have seen America’s true colors and its path towards fascism illuminated. Should HB-1 influence other states to suppress the right to protest, this could be the final straw and make America a fully militarized country.