The governor of Florida Monday signed a bill into law that bans Floridians from protesting outside of private residences.
“Sending unruly mobs to private residences, like we have seen with the angry crowds in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, is inappropriate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said just before signing HB 1571 into law. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”
The bill was written, passed and signed after swaths of angry activists showed up at the D.C.-area homes of Supreme Court justices in protest of the potential reversal of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.
A recent draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which could decide the fate of Roe, was leaked to the public, whipping the far-left into a frenzy.
Florida is proactively taking steps to make sure that such displays do not occur there.
“Specifically, the bill makes it a criminal offense to picket or protest before or about another person’s home in order to harass or disturb the person in his or her home,” according to the bill. “A person who engages in the prohibited conduct commits a second-degree misdemeanor.”
Before a person is arrested for the crime, he or she must be commanded by a law enforcement officer to disperse. If the person does not, then he or she may be arrested.
“In Florida, citizens are free to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest and to make their voices heard. Intimidating officials and their families at home is not constitutionally protected speech,” DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told The Florida Capital Star. “This was determined by the Supreme Court in 1988’s Frisby v. Schultz, which is referenced in the text of the new Florida law.”
The legislation follows DeSantis’ 2021 “anti-riot” crusade, which saw him sign HB 1 into law.
That bill aims to stop peaceful protests from turning violent, and specifically targets those who block roads and highways, or engage in looting, both of which have been results of protests around the country.
“This legislation strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished,” DeSantis said at the time. “Further, this legislation ensures that no community in the state engages in defunding of their police.”
This article originally appeared in The Florida Capital Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News. Republished with permission.