TALLAHASSEE, Fla. >> Anyone who protests in front of a private residence in Florida can face jail time and fines under a bill Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed today.
The legislation makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to protest in a manner that is aimed at intentionally harassing or disturbing someone in their home. Violators face 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500.
Protesters can only be arrested after ignoring law enforcement’s orders to disperse, however.
The governor said the new law will prevent protests in Florida like those waged by abortion rights protesters in front of U.S. Supreme Court justices’ homes in Virginia.
“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 an email to news agencies. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”
Some Democrats opposed the bill, arguing it infringes on people’s First Amendment rights to free speech.
The law is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.