New security measures were proposed after the group called the Dream Defenders held a sit-in at Florida’s capitol last year. The Governor has signed off on a new security plan, but some say it goes too far.
The Dream Defenders were back at the Capitol for the opening of Legislative session, but none brought sleeping bags this time.
Group members made the Capitol their home from mid July to Mid August of last year. They were protesting the Trayvon Martin Verdict and Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.
\Now the Governor signed off on a new security plan that prevents similar sleepovers. “The security plan was worked on through FDLE and Capitol Police, they’re responsible for this and it was a proposal they made and I signed off on it.”
Dozens of Dream Defenders slept outside the Governor’s office last summer, but under the new rules, the public will have to be out by 5 p.m. “You should not try to stifle community participation. This is America not communism.”
Reverend RB Holmes was the vice chairman for the Governor’s Stand Your Ground task force. He supports the Dream Defenders and says the plan to ban overnight protests oversteps its bounds. “It sends a bad message that we’re going to try to settle or to cripple folks right to express their concerns as it relates to public policies.”
Even though they can no longer spend the night, the Dream Defenders plan on being very active for the 60 day legislative session. “We feel like people need to have their voices heard during legislative session, so we’re bringing people here for legislative session.”
The House Speaker and Senate President have also signed off on the new security plan.
The public will be allowed at the Capitol after 5 p.m. if there are special events going on or if they are accompanied by someone with a Capitol Access Card.