DeSantis supports public sleeping, camping ban

by | Feb 5, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged support for policies currently under consideration in the Florida Legislature that would ban camping or sleeping on public streets, sidewalks, and parks.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced plans to work with the Florida legislature to craft new policies aimed at banning camping on public streets, sidewalks, and parks across the state.

During a press conference in Miami Beach, DeSantis pledged support for a pair of bills currently under consideration. The companion measures, House Bill 1365 and Senate Bill 1530, would bar local governments and municipalities from authorizing public sleeping or camping.

“We’re not going to let any city turn into a San Francisco,” DeSantis said, harkening talking points from his failed presidential campaign. “We need to prohibit camping on all city streets, sidewalks, and parks. We just can’t live like that.”

DeSantis also referenced potential state funding for sheltering and substance abuse problems among the homeless population, though scant on specific details, but clarified that he does not want to facilitate programs that would “incentivize” the establishment of homeless camps in spaces that could “interfere” with business.

“I am open to providing financial support for communities for things like like sheltering, also for things to try to address some of the mental problems that we see with people on the street. Clearly there is an underlying issue that you’re seeing with mental illness. And that has not been addressed very well,” said the governor. “What we don’t want to see in the legislation is any incentive to create homeless camps, particularly in areas that would interfere with the public, conducting normal business.”

DeSantis subsequently addressed preparations for the upcoming spring break, a period that traditionally sees a surge in visitors to Florida’s beaches and cities, stating his administration’s intention to “maintain public safety and order.” He also announced plans to allocate state resources, including the Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to support local efforts in managing the seasonal increase in visitors.

“We want spring break to go smoothly, and I’m willing to devote resources to ensure that it goes smoothly because I understand how it impacts restaurants and hotels. These are people’s livelihoods,” DeSantis said. “And you have spring break, which can be a great time for Florida businesses, but if it goes south it ends up becoming really bad.”

In 2022, the City of Miami Beach implemented a state of emergency and crowd-control measures following a spring break wave of violence that included shootings, theft, and assault.


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