Bill targeting ‘pop-up’ events awaits House vote

The proposal would put non-permitted, social-media driven events on a short leash in Florida.

The House took up a bill Tuesday designed to address the rise of “pop-up” events in Florida.

Sponsored by Ormond Beach Republican Rep. Tom Leek, the proposal (HB 1435) would empower local sheriffs and leaders to more effectively respond to large, unpermitted gatherings.

Under the bill, a Sheriff may designate a “special event zone” if a gathering is promoted on social media, attended by more than 50 individuals and disrupts street traffic.

Within the zone, authorities may double fines for noncriminal traffic citations. They may also enforce occupancy limits and impound a vehicle for up to 72 hours for a traffic infraction.

The House will vote on the proposal later this week. Leek said his community has struggled to contain such pop-up events.

“This bill very simply gives another tool to the cities and to law enforcement officers to help control these social media spontaneous events,” Leek said.

Jacksonville Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon posed a region-specific question on the floor, asking Leek how the bill may impact the famous Florida-Georgia football party.

Hosted in Jacksonville, the rivalry game draws national crowds and inspires a tailgate experience commonly known as the “largest outdoor cocktail party.”

“Hopefully not at all,” quipped Leek.

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando asked Leek if the bill is an extension of last year’s “anti-riot” bill — a proposal acclaimed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that cracked down on riots and protests.

She also asked if the bill may disproportionately affect young people, communities of color and demonstrators.

“This bill has nothing to do with HB 1,” Leek said. “It has nothing to do with protests. You still have every protection you ever had under the First Amendment.”

Leek maintains the bill solely targets social media driven events. The bill’s staff analysis cites a series of events in Daytona Beach, which may include “Orlando Invades Daytona.”

The event in 2020 drew massive crowds and led to a bridge closure and a city lockdown. Police struggled to contain the pop-up event as it sprawled across several blocks in Volusia County.

“We were invaded by Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told News 13.

If the bill becomes law, it would take effect July 1.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.

One comment

  • PeterH

    March 1, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    The Freedumb State of Florida certainly has a legislative agenda full of restrictions and curtailments!

    The Klan, Oath Keepers and Proud Boys will not be happy!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn