Earlier this summer the Dream Defenders camped out in the state capitol 24/7 for 31 days. Overtime cost Florida taxpayers more than $172,000. Now the state is changing the rules to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Gerald Bailey with the FDLE says, “When the Capitol is closed we will not allow people in to sleep, to protest, things of that nature.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is recommending rules aimed at keeping people out of the capitol after business hours.
If it does become the new rule, the doors will be locked after hours; meaning that you will be escorted out of the building and possibly arrested.
The Dream Defenders are back in the state capital this week. Even though they aren’t staying in the Capitol this time around they say the recommended changes will silence people’s voices.
Phillip Agnew with the Dream Defenders says, “The right to peacefully assemble, engage your lawmakers in a public building, public figure, public figures is not being infringed on. It’s a core tenant of our constitution of Florida and our country. Seems more political than safety.”
The state says it’s all about safety. FDLE is currently waiting on Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford. The three must approve the rule in writing for the changes to take place.
“They are in the process now of going over the FDLE recommendation and I hope we hear from them soon,” said Bailey.
The new rules would also prohibit groups from preparing food without a permit.
Those authorized in the capitol will still be allowed access to the building after hours, but a maximum of four guests will only be permitted with the authorized person.