Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that prohibits “picketing and protesting” outside someone’s private residence. The news comes following a wave of protests over abortion rights, many of which have taken place outside lawmakers’ communities and homes.
The law makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to protest in a way that intentionally harasses or disturbs someone in their home. Violators face 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500.
The Republican governor said the new law will prevent protests in Florida like those staged by abortion rights protesters in front of the homes of U.S. Supreme Court justices near Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the U.S. Marshals Service to provide additional support after Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett have all had continued demonstrations staked outside of their homes.
“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 a statement Monday. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”
The legislation comes as Republican and Democratic lawmakers continue to debate the legality of protesting directly outside the homes of judges. Nationwide protests have continued following the leak of a Supreme Court majority draft that suggest the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
The Florida law is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.