Florida Gov. DeSantis recently made a sarcastic proposal to California regarding the Texas border crisis, offering California Gov. Newsome help to secure the state’s part of the border. “I want the whole border secure,” DeSantis stated a few days ago, after announcing more troops would be sent to Texas to assist Governor Abbott with the rising number of migrants. On Monday, Florida’s governor held a press conference, and the focus was California city, known for difficulties in managing its homeless population.
DeSantis supports bill seeking to solve the homelessness in the state
On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis expressed his support for a new law that would stop homeless individuals from setting up in public spots like streets, sidewalks, and parks. This support came as a Senate committee moved forward with the proposal.
“I think what we’re envisioning is providing some support for counties for additional sheltering, providing some financial support for both substance abuse (programs) and mental health,” DeSantis said during a news conference, as he stood behind a podium that said: “Don’t Allow Florida to become San Francisco.”
He also said he doesn’t want the law to encourage the making of homeless camps that might get in the way of everyday activities for the public.
Senate Judiciary Committee approved a changed version of the bill
This happened just before the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a changed version of the bill (SB 1530) by Senator Jonathan Martin. This bill would allow local authorities to pick specific areas for homeless people to sleep or camp, as long as these areas meet the standards of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The Senate’s bill says these places can only be used for a year at a time and must have facilities like toilets and running water, security, healthcare access, and be free from alcohol and drugs. The bill also makes sure these sites don’t lower nearby property values or create safety issues.
Helping the homeless people without disrupting other services
Senator Martin explained the goal is to provide necessary help to homeless individuals without disrupting the services of local charities and ensuring public spaces remain accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
“The goal is to take people who have mental-health issues, who have substance-abuse issues, who are sleeping in public parks, public parks that we fund with a lot of money every single year here in Tallahassee, making sure those public parks and those public space are used for what they are intended,” Martin said.
The proposed legislation must get approval from the Rules Committee before the entire Senate can consider it. Additionally, the law would allow individuals and companies to sue local governments if they do not comply with its guidelines. Some Democrats are concerned that the bill focuses more on moving people into designated areas rather than offering them the help they need.
Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book sees the bill as an initial step and mentioned the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust’s approach to homelessness, led by her father Ron Book. This organization aims to connect with homeless individuals daily to identify their needs for assistance.
Senator Book encouraged a shift in focus from preventing Florida from becoming like San Francisco to genuinely aiding those without homes, highlighting the true intention behind the bill.
Senator Gayle Harrell addressed concerns about the bill being seen as a way to forcefully gather and penalize homeless people. She emphasized that the designated areas are meant to be safe spaces where those without shelter, including those living in forests, can access services.
House Judiciary Committee yet to review the bill
The House’s version of the bill (HB 1365) has passed through one committee and is now waiting for review by the House Judiciary Committee.
Governor DeSantis also mentioned during the news conference that the state is ready to offer help to local law enforcement for the upcoming spring break. He stressed that while visitors are welcome, the state will not tolerate disruptive behaviors, aiming for a smoother experience for all.