Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Protests Outside Homes

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on 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 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 new law, which takes effect on Oct. 1, will undoubtedly be challenged by free speech advocates for violating their First Amendment protections.

The bill cleared the Legislature during its regular session earlier this year, well before Justice Samuel Alito’s draft became public. An analysis released at the time cited picketing outside the homes of Florida’s two U.S. senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, and the Orlando home of one of the officers convicted in George Floyd’s murder.

Last year, DeSantis signed a bill into law that increased civil penalties for protesting, and created new crimes such as “aggravated rioting” and “mob intimidation” — the latter of which makes it illegal for a group of three or more individuals to confront someone else to try to make them change their views. The law also made it illegal to block traffic on highways, and granted civil immunity protections to people who drive their vehicles into crowds of protesters.

 

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