DeSantis Jumps On Anti-Protest Bandwagon
Signs bill criminalizing peaceful demonstrations
In what is certainly a signal towards his interest in a bid for the 2024 Republican nomination for president, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis (R) has signed a bill criminalizing even peaceful demonstrations outside personal residences in the state.
The new state law comes after recent —non-violent — demonstrations outside of the homes of US Supreme Court justices around Washington DC, and at the homes of members of Congress, including Sen Susan Collins (R-Maine).
DeSantis Monday signed HB 1571, which prohibits picketing and protesting outside of a person's residence.
Once in effect, the new law will allow police to arrest those picketing or protesting outside of a residence, if protesters don't disperse upon a warning. Violations will be punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.
DeSantis, in a statement, claims that the law is needed due to “unruly mobs” protesting Supreme Court justices following the recent leak of a draft court decision to overturn Roe v Wade after nearly a half-century of guaranteed national access to abortion services.
Abortion rights supporters' protests, however, have been generally peaceful.
Sen Collins — who, despite claiming to be pro-choice, voted to confirm several of the justices who have signed on to the draft decision — called 911 after claiming that the sidewalk outside of her home had been “defaced.”
Police responded to the scene, but found that the “message wasn’t threatening” and therefore “no crime was committed,” Bangor, Maine, Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Wade Betters said in a statement.
The sidewalk message read, simply, “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA —> vote yes, clean up your mess.”
WHPA is the federal Women’s Health Protection Act. It would guarantee the right to an abortion until the point of fetal viability in federal law. Collins has voted against the bill in the past, most recently when it came up to a vote last Wednesday.
DeSantis is seen as hoping to secure the 2024 Republican Party nod for president, if he can be reelected governor of the Sunshine State this November.
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