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Governor Signs Bill Outlawing Protests Outside a Person's Home; 'The Black Collective' Calls It a Violation of the 1st Amendment

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Miami - Monday May 16, 2022: Governor Ron DeSantis Monday signed HB 1571 into law. The measure is also known as the Criminalizing Neighborhood Presence bill. It prohibits picketing and protesting outside of a person’s place of residence.

The law requires police to first provide a warning to any person or groups picketing or protesting outside of a dwelling. If they do not disperse law enforcement will then be empowered to make an arrest on a charge of residential picketing. Residential picketing will be punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.

“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,” said the Governor. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”

In response, The Black Collective issued a release calling the new law a violation of the First Amendment right to assemble and protest that criminalizes protesters. A person charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor could face a maximum of 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and six months of probation. There is "much vagueness in the language as it relates to public spaces like sidewalks and publicly-funded buildings," states the release.

"The right to peaceful protest is a bedrock American principle that should never be undermined," said Co-Founder and Board Chair of The Black Collective Francesca Menes. "HB 1571 builds on the unconstitutional foundations of the anti-protest bill last year and only reaffirms our will to make sure our voices are heard in order to create a brighter future for the people of our state."