Ron DeSantis signs law making it illegal to protest outside of a private home

Protesters in Florida who picket outside a person’s private home could face jail time and fines under a law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis signed the law into law Monday, saying it was inappropriate for protesters to attack homes and the legislation would protect community communities. The bill comes amid renewed debate over the limits of protests, after protesters targeted the homes of US Supreme Court justices after a leaked opinion showed the court was poised to overturn Roe v. calf and strike down national abortion rights.

House Bill 1571 makes it illegal to protest or picket near a home “with intent to harass or disturb that person in his home”. The newly signed law stipulates that law enforcement must warn protesters to disperse before they can issue a subpoena. Those convicted could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.

“It is inappropriate to send unruly mobs into private homes, as we have seen with the angry crowds outside the homes of Supreme Court justices,” DeSantis said in a statement. “This law will offer protections to those living in shared accommodation and I look forward to enacting it.”

Abortion rights protests in the Maryland neighborhood
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation that could impose jail terms and fines on protesters who picket outside a person’s private home. The bill comes amid renewed debate over the limits of protests following the Supreme Court’s leaked opinion that ended Roe v. Wade demands. Above, residents watch as abortion rights advocates protest near the home of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts on May 11, 2022 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

After the explosive draft advisory was leaked, protesters have attacked the homes of the court’s conservative judges, including Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrats’ reactions to the protests at the Justices’ Houses ranged from encouraging to tolerant.

“Look, I think the President’s view is that a lot of people in this country have a lot of passion, fear and sadness about what they saw in this leaked document,” former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month. “Obviously we want people’s privacy to be respected, we want people to protest peacefully if they want to protest. That would certainly be the President’s view.”

Republicans, on the other hand, were more willing to condemn the tactic. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New York Congressman Lee Zeldin called Psaki’s comments “sick.” Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has introduced a bill that would require online platforms to remove the home addresses of government officials and their families if requested to do so.

However, the Florida bill was introduced into the legislature in January by Republican Rep. Randy Maggard. During a February hearing on the legislature, law enforcement officials said the bill would give them another tool to manage protests.

But Democrats raised concerns that the law contained too much ambiguity, particularly about how much discretion it gave officials to decide whether protesters had “intent to harass or disrupt.”

news week reached out to Maggard for comment. Ron DeSantis signs law making it illegal to protest outside of a private home

Rick Schindler

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