Governor signs bill preventing defunding of police: ‘Here in Georgia, we back the blue…Now is the time to invest in law enforcement.’

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ATHENS, GA – On May 9th, Republican governor Brian Kemp of Georgia signed House Bill 286 into law which prevents any iteration of defunding of police within the state of Georgia.

In what Breitbart News has coined as a “symbolic gesture”, HB 286 was signed just outside of the city of Athens, which happens to be an area that had recently proposed the cutting of local police budgets.

Apparently, Republican State Representative Houston Gaines, who represents the city of Athens, sponsored HB 286.

During the ceremony associated with the signing of HB 286, Rep. Gaines stated the following about the new law:

“Here in Georgia, we back the blue. And that’s why we’re here today – to say loud and clear that we support law enforcement, and that we’re going to keep families in our state safe.”

“Over the last year, we’ve seen radial calls to defund the police in cities across the nation. In cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Portland – where local governments have slashed police budgets, crime has skyrocketed.”

“Now those cities are working to restore that funding, and I’m glad to see them come to their senses – but it’s too late for the crimes that have been committed, the damage that has been done to those communities, and the lives lost.”

“Georgia, too, has seen calls to defund the police. Over the last several months, Atlanta and Athens have considered proposals to slash police funding. In Atlanta, an effort to cut $73 million from the police budget only failed by one vote on the city council.”

“Last year in Athens – just down the road in my hometown, there was a proposal by county commissioners to cut 50% of the police budget.”

One of the aspects mentioned by Rep. Gaines was the 60% increase in crime that is plagued the greater area of Atlanta:

“Now is the time to invest in law enforcement. We need to increase the pay of our police officers, add money in the budget for more resources, and stand by those who keep our communities safe. Because the reality is: defunding the police is a radical movement that will endanger our families and our law enforcement officers alike.”

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We had Law Enforcement Today have reported previously on other states and localities that have enacted similar legislation that either barred or heavily penalized attempts at defunding the police.

But in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis took things a step further and moved to fund the police. 

Here’s that previous report from earlier in May. 

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SATELLITE BEACH, FL – Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that, unlike many states that are defunding police, Florida will be providing $1,000 bonus checks to every police officer, firefighter, paramedic, and emergency medical technician in the state.

Making the announcement from the Satellite Beach Police Department in Brevard County, Gov. DeSantis said:

“Some want to defund the police; we’re funding the police and then some, and that’s what we’re here today to say.”

In March, the governor proposed using money from Florida’s federal stimulus package to provide first responders with bonuses, saying they earned the financial boost with their work during the pandemic. The legislature agreed and passed the proposal.

At the press conference held Wednesday, DeSantis was joined by police officials from around the state who applauded the $1,000 bonuses.

DeSantis also commented on another piece of legislation passed in support of law enforcement. He applauded the state’s passage of the “Anti-Riot” Act, which places tougher penalties on protesters who engage in violent rallies.

He praised a provision in the “Anti-Riot” Act that prevents local governments from defunding police:

“There is a very strong provision in there that said, ‘We are not going to let local governments defund law enforcement.’

“We are going to make sure that at the state level, we protect our communities, and if you try to do it, we are going to fight back, and we are going to defend the people of this state.”

The Governor said that, beyond the “Anti-Riot” Act, he wanted to reward first responders for working through the pandemic at a time when many other people did not have to:

“The other thing that we fought for was the recognition that when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, you had some people, and I don’t begrudge them from doing this, but you had some people working for different companies or whatever, they would just work on Zoom from their bedroom or from their living room.

“Well, the people that wear the uniform did not have that luxury. They were out there every single day. Our police, our fire, our EMTs, they were out there every single day. They had to work more than they ever have.”

Gov. DeSantis said that police not only had to work during the pandemic keeping the country safe, but they had to face violence and hatred while doing so:

“(Police) not only had to deal with protecting us when the pandemic hit, but then, obviously, how the police were treated last year in many parts of the country which was a total disgrace.”

Recognizing the service the officers and other first responders provide to the community, the Governor asked the legislature to provide a bonus to them, saying Florida always has the back of law enforcement:

“They (police) had to put the uniform on. Yes, they knew the State of Florida had their back and I think we did much better in Florida, but if you look at what a lot of these police officers are dealing with now, it’s terrible.

“So, I thought it was important to recognize the service, to recognize the sacrifice.”

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