House, Senate sign off on crackdown against disruptive pop-up events

Apps for social media in smartphone
Officials say the events are social media driven and cost taxpayers thousands.

The House and Senate signed off Thursday on a bill tackling the rise of disruptive “pop-up” events in Florida. 

The proposal (HB 1435) seeks to empower local sheriffs and leaders to respond more effectively to large, unpermitted gatherings.

Ormond Beach Republican Rep. Tom Leek is the bill sponsor. New Smyrna Beach Sen. Tom Wright is the companion bill sponsor. 

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

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

Both chambers agreed Thursday to make the bill effective immediately, instead of the originally planned date of July 1. Leek reassured lawmakers the bill would not impact Floridians unfairly, noting police must first post signs around the event, designating it as a special event zone.

The bill’s staff analysis cites a series of events in Daytona Beach, which include “Orlando Invades Daytona.”

Wright said the events are ongoing, and expected to return soon to Daytona. Authorities, he shared, expect more than 5,000 trucks to “descend” in Daytona.

Last time, the city spent more than $171,000 in police overtime to manage the event.

“They go out and they shoot people in the street,” Wright said of some pop-up events. “They beat each other up on the street. They urinate on the street, and they destroy public and private property and think they’re going to get away with it.”

The Senate initially passed the bill along a 35-3 vote without debate. Three Democratic Senators voted against the bill — Sens. Gary Farmer, Audrey Gibson and Bobby Powell. They worried the bill went too far and argued state law provides enough against the events.

The House, meanwhile, initially passed the measure along a 90-26 vote. The final House vote on the amended proposal: 83-32.

The bill now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ consideration.

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.


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