Florida’s Republican Gov. Ronald DeSantis signed a law Monday banning people from carrying out protests near 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,” DeSantis said in a Monday news release announcing HB 1571’s signing.
“This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law,” DeSantis said.
Under the new law scheduled to come into effect Oct. 1, police officers will warn people protesting or picketing outside someone’s place of residence, asking them to disperse peacefully.
Should they refuse to disperse peacefully, they will be arrested and charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
In his statement announcing the law’s signing, DeSantis referenced the recent protests outside the homes of Supreme Court Justices.
The protests erupted in response to Politico’s publication of a Supreme Court leaked draft majority opinion, which suggested that the nation’s highest court could repeal Roe v. Wade, thus ending a major legal protection for abortion.
Republican lawmakers and activists criticized the demonstrations as attempts to strong-arm the court’s Justices into voting along the preferences of the crowd.
While DeSantis referenced the protests in his statement, the law was not directly related to the recent incident.
The state legislature passed the bill in March, around two months before the Supreme Court leak.
Having strong bipartisan support, the state senate voted 28-3 to send the bill to DeSantis’ desk for signing, CNN reported.
Republican State Sen. Keith Perry sponsored the bill following several protests near the homes of liberal and conservative figures, CNN reported.
“Some of us signed up for all of this, but our spouses, children and neighbors do not,” Perry said during a January state Senate committee hearing, according to CNN.
“There should be a difference between a public space and your dwelling,” Perry said.
DeSantis’ bill “builds on the unconstitutional foundations of the anti-protest bill last year and only reaffirms our will to make sure our voices are heard in order to create a brighter future for the people of our state,” Francesca Menes, the co-founder of the political organization The Black Collective said, CNN reported.
“The right to peaceful protest is a bedrock American principle that should never be undermined.”
“That’s not the case here in Florida, where we have seen legislation the last two sessions undermining this vital right and attacking the Black communities that have relied on it to bring about meaningful change for generations,” Menes said.
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