Florida is notorious for reducing the ability of citizens to complain about governmental actions. The Florida Administrative Procedure Act deviates in many ways from its federal counterpart and many of those deviations are designed to make it difficult — or impossible — for citizens to object to regulations or other government actions. Tort law too is heavily constrained, so businesses and rich people and insurance companies don’t need to worry as much about lawsuits either.
Well, Florida has finally found a species of citizen suit it likes. As part of Governor DeSantis’s opportunistic revival of his anti-BLM-demonstration bill, resurrected in light of the sacking of the US Capitol, the Governor proposes to let anyone complain to hm if a locality has the temerity to cut a police budget:
The 51-page bill would also take an aggressive approach to budgeting of local police departments. Under the initial language, a local government that cuts its police budget could be subject to an appeal by any person. That appeal would be subject to a budget hearing held by the governor’s office, and later a ruling by a separate commission that includes the governor. If that commission decides police cuts were unneeded, they could restore the funding and the decision would be final.
But that’s not all! While it remains hard for citizens to get recompense if shot by police, the governor thinks we should give localities a financial incentive to make the police even more trigger happy at demonstrations:
Beyond budgeting, the proposals would also make it easier to sue government bodies, which generally share wide-ranging lawsuit protections known as sovereign immunity. Those protections would be lifted and governments could be sued under the bill for “damages caused during a riot,” or if a government is found to interfere with “reasonable law enforcement action” during a riot.”
Leaving aside that this is only the latest example of the Florida state government’s callous disregard for the civil rights of Floridians (and especially the minorities disproportionately likely to be victims of police violence), and ignoring the assault on the power of localities to spend their own money and make their own rules, this naked pandering to police and reflexive law-and-order voters flies in the face of evidence that crime is down ….