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Anti-Rioting Bill Taken Up in Tennessee House, Following Florida’s Lead

By Craig Bannister | May 4, 2021 | 4:31pm EDT
(Getty Images/Samuel Corum/AFP) 

An anti-rioting and pro-police bill is being considered by state representatives in the Tennessee House, following the lead of Florida, which enacted a similar measure last month.

Tennessee House Bill 513 would increase penalties and punishment for criminal protesters, such as:

  • Harsher penalties for disruptive protesters,
  • Making the penalty against protesters blocking roadways a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison,
  • Granting immunity to some drivers, if they unintentionally injure a protester,
  • Imposing a minimum sentence for those convicted of assaulting police officers, and
  • Making it harder for local governments to defund police departments.

As The Washington Examiner notes, H.R. 513 emulates a new Florida law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which the governor says he signed because police were being discouraged from protecting victimized citizens:

The bill comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed what he described as “the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country.”

“We saw last summer some of the local governments were actually telling, not necessarily in Florida, but throughout the country, basically telling these folks to stand, telling police to stand down while cities burned, while businesses were burned, while people were being harmed,” he added when he signed the bill last month.

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