The activist group Dream Defenders spent a month at the Capitol following George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin. It’s that action that’s causing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to want to amend security rules to ensure the seat of state government doesn’t have to deal with visitors for such extended periods of time. The proposal says citizens risk arrest if they don’t vacate the Capitol at five p.m. or thirty minutes after the adjournment of a public meeting. Dream Defender Director Phillip Agnew said that proposal violates taxpayers’ rights.
“This is really politically motivated, more than a safety measure. I think it’s interesting that this rule you know – it’s being called the Dream Defender’s rule. But, it’s going to limit the right of all people to peaceably assemble, to gather here and petition their lawmakers. And that’s really a core tenant to our constitution,” Agnew argued.
In order for the change to move forward, the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President must approve it in writing. The changes also include limitations on how many people lawmakers with keycard access can bring into the Capitol building after hours. FDLE declined to comment on the changes because of what a spokesperson calls “security concerns.”