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New first responders' bill aims to criminalize contact with a police officer after warning

The first responders' bill aims to protect officers from harassment and interruption while they’re on duty

Florida is considering a new measure that would make it unlawful to approach law enforcement or emergency personnel after being advised to keep a distance. The first responders' bill is intended to protect police officers against harassment but is receiving mixed reactions from the public. Social media activists on the political left have criticized the law as a move toward fascism in the United States.

Learn more about the details of this bill and how it will affect first responders below.

What is the first responders' bill?

Republican State Sen. Bryan Avila is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 1126, also known as the first responders' bill. Its purpose is to penalize anyone who impedes, provokes, or harasses law enforcement, fire, and emergency personnel while on the job.

If passed, the measure would make it illegal for anybody to approach, breach a warning against approaching, or stand 30 feet from a first responder while they're tending to an emergency. In the event that Senate Bill 1126 is passed, its implementation date is set for October 1, 2023.

Picture of a man with a flag

The motivation behind this bill

Avila elaborated on the reasoning behind the first responder bill. He stated that law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, and military personnel are frequently in danger due to the nature of their jobs. This law aims to provide a layer of protection between the public and those who might not have the greatest intentions so that first responders can go about their work without interruption.

However, left-leaning social media organizations are condemning this as fascist because they believe it would allow police personnel greater leeway to misuse their authority. Avila declined to comment on this.

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