Florida passes new law banning protests in residential areas

Kristen Walters

Florida's governor Ron DeSantis just signed a new law that would make protesting outside of specific people's homes or in residential areas a criminal offense.

Karoline Grabowska/Pexels (Canva Pro license)

Following the Supreme Court leak on May 2, 2022, that showed compelling evidence that the court may soon overturn Roe v. Wade, which has protected a woman's liberty to have an abortion without excessive government restriction, many pro-choice activists have taken to the streets in protest.

Some activists have even picketed in front of the private residences of several Supreme Court justices.

Many Republican lawmakers, along with Governor Ron DeSantis, felt that such action was inappropriate, so they drafted HB 1571 earlier this month to make it a criminal offense to protest in residential areas and attempt to disturb people inside their homes.

The law, which will go into effect on October 1, 2022, states, "a person who engages in the prohibited conduct commits a second-degree misdemeanor," which is a criminal offense punishable by no more than sixty days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine.

In defense of the law, Governor DeSantis said,

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. This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.

However, under the new law, a person must be given a warning by a law enforcement officer to "disperse from the unlawful assembly" before they may be arrested.

Do you agree with the new law, or do you think this has the potential to hinder our First Amendment right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution?

Share your opinion in the comments and let us know what you think.

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