Gov. DeSantis says people ‘across the political spectrum’ back state-mandated homeless camps

Only the 'far left' is upset by the legislation creating unfunded mandates for local jurisdictions, according to the Governor.

Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledges some ideological resistance to a bill forcing counties to pay for homeless encampments, but says it only comes from the “far left.”

Meanwhile, as he told Sean Hannity, people “across the political spectrum” back the bill (HB 1365) from Republican Sen. Jon Martin and Republican Rep. Sam Garrison for local jurisdictions to pick a piece of public property and compel people who are camping or sleeping in public spaces to that location.

“I’m going to sign legislation over the next month or so to really counteract Florida ever going in the direction of California on things like homelessness,” DeSantis said.

“So as you know, we have cities that get elected and cities can govern themselves and there are certain state laws, but you know, we don’t want a city to turn into a Los Angeles or San Francisco with respect to having homeless everywhere. So we’re doing legislation and saying you’re not allowed to have homeless camps (on the) streets, take over in front of businesses.”

“The far left is really upset about it,” DeSantis added. “But, you know, people across the political spectrum are like, ‘Yes, you can’t have this intrude on the quality of life for everyday residents.'” He did not, however, offer examples of support for that claim of broad-based support for the controversial legislation.

The bill, passed by a 27-12 vote in the Senate, would ban counties and municipalities from permitting public sleeping or public camping on public property without explicit permission, compelling these localities to round up the homeless and put them somewhere. Local camps must include clean restrooms, running water, security on premises and bans on drugs and alcohol.

Democrats noted the bill presented an unfunded mandate. DeSantis’ worry, apparently satisfied by the legislation’s final form, was that he didn’t want “Sodom and Gomorrah” style homeless camps.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Tom

    March 8, 2024 at 8:57 am

    Everyone I know is an independant (except one brother-in-law who’s a trump supporter and manages to ruin every family get together by talking politics) – who are these far left people he keeps talking about? Even the 20 something nieces and nephews are pretty much centrists. I guess he needs someone to hate on. What ever happened to politicians at least paying lip service to bringing folks together? Maybe he could try and solve homelessness … nah, only kidding. That would take actual work.

  • My Take

    March 8, 2024 at 8:57 am

    There must be professionals who know how to teach goobers like this to speak like educated adults.
    Does this verbal slop appeal to his redneck base?

  • My Take

    March 8, 2024 at 9:05 am

    Unused malls already have most of what is needed.
    And far more: roofs, walls lights, heat and AC, separate areas, guardable entrances.

    • MH/Duuuval

      March 8, 2024 at 9:44 am

      True, and would be simpler to provide medical and other services as well as monitoring.

      However, smaller, scattered housing units might be more palatable.

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 8, 2024 at 9:28 am

    Any if there’s anything Rhonda knows well, it’s being on the spectrum.

    So, will the homeless be re-educated at Rhonda’s camps? Or just proselytized with Jesus nonsense?

  • MH/Duuuval

    March 8, 2024 at 9:41 am

    Still another unfunded mandate by the MAGA legislature foisting costs onto local taxpayers.

    • Nope

      March 8, 2024 at 3:52 pm

      All feelings and ideology aside, I have some basic questions and appreciate everyone’s perspective. How does this bill relate to cities where there are shelter and social services in place now? Does it mandate the establishment of these camps to the exclusion of existing shelters, or do the shelters satisfy the requirement, in which case cities could allocate funding, but that’s a city donation to non profits in many cases so how does that work? In any case, you cannot force people to stay, which is the issue the shelters already have. If you are forcing them to stay or constantly chasing them, it starts to look like a constitutional issue. These questions have to be addressed. And cities have the right to direct their own budgets. Does this bill mandate the behaviour of rounding people up, or does it also mandate specific budgetary allocations to the detriment of other funding for services already in place? What is the threshold? There could be legal challenges on those grounds as well. If cities choose to implement more centrally located public shower and bath facilities separate or in addition to existing shelter services, does that meet the requirement? What about more permanent housing options? Does that meet? How are people identified to be rounded up and removed? This is very thorny and sketchy unless they are specifically disturbing the peace or acting in a threatening way. So is it behaviour based or status based, which has already been challenged in the legal system and starts to look like stop and search. Jax may already have its ban against aggressive panhandling reversed on constitutional grounds, and that bill was behaviour based, whereas this bill falls far below that threshold in some instances. This creates multiple issues for police, who already have to tailor their approaches on a per case basis but now will be forced to operate under a questionable mandate, and by whose authority? Finally, how do they plan to enforce this law? Will there be secret state inspections, review of city budgets, prosecution of elected officials for dereliction? What are those penalties? How do they determine compliance or non compliance? Will cities have to establish more reporting than they already do? How? That requires documenting and tracking people (which shelters do by default but in these camps would be difficult unless you are starting to track individuals by identification, in which you are setting up a targeted subclass. What does the state do if cities simply continue on as they have and sidestep this legislation and make the case they are already meeting the requirements on its face? This is the worst crafted legislation to come out of this session, and that’s saying something.

      • MH/Duuuval

        March 9, 2024 at 10:04 am

        Siting a Neo-Hooverville in most places is difficult because of population growth, suburbanization, and zoning aimed at preserving the status quo.

      • JustBabs

        March 9, 2024 at 9:08 pm

        From reading the legislature, the burden, and punishments, will be on local governments. But there was no funding provided with this bill. That would mean keeping our local LEOs very busy chasing the homeless around, over and over, to get them into the locally funded camps. At the risk of reducing law enforcement and tax payer resources. As you said, you can’t make them stay. Up to now, most local governments have been told to push the homeless out of sight of tourists. Usually into wooded areas and their own choice of campsite. None of these policies are very productive, or humane.

  • Bill Pollard

    March 8, 2024 at 10:38 am

    Some homeless people have jobs. They simply cannot afford a place to live anymore. Making homelessness illegal will not solve this problem. Creating homeless camps will cost money. This money must come from somewhere. This new law will not be a solution.

    • MH/Duuuval

      March 8, 2024 at 5:58 pm

      Housing affordability is the problem in many states, including California, which Dee likes to dump on. The state will vote soon on a tax increase to pay for taking on homelessness and its associated problems. MAGA Florida kicks the can down the road to localities, but only after putting many strictures on the localities.

      Dee talks; Gov. Newsom walks.

  • rick whitaker's

    March 8, 2024 at 1:50 pm

    desantis thinks that by calling something far left it will probably be rejected by his people. what’s he going to do when do when everyone is calling out the far right for their problems, and desantis is the symbol of far right. desantis, what a punk’s punk

    • Marvin M.

      March 9, 2024 at 1:42 pm

      What frosts my Wheaties is that DeSantis comes up with ‘solutions’ that don’t even begin to deal with the root of the problem of homelessness.
      DeSantis is the broom and he decides municipalities shall be the rug under which the detritus of the homeless shall be swept – never mind the municipalities can’t possibly do what he is asking without charging millage payers a whole lot more money.
      I can go as far as saying DeSantis actually means well. I can allow that the man actually wants the homeless to be able to have clean bathroom facilities and get some mental heath care.
      But there are other ideas he could pursue that could put the money burden on the state and might actually work better, and again, if he really wants to solve the homeless problem, he must deal with the reasons why people become homeless in the first place.
      This bill does not do that, at all. It’s a band-aid on a corpse, at best.

  • KS

    March 12, 2024 at 11:57 pm

    He’s absolutely clueless. He came back to Florida after an embarrassing presidential campaign only to reek havoc on the good citizens of Florida. Ya know, some people understand the status quo, as they diligently work towards making our world a better place to be. They understand it takes hard work to make a change, but they gladly roll up their sleeves and get to it. They DO NOT bully the legislature in making a quick law that only compounds an already serious situation by bullying the diverse communities in our state into compliance. Enforcement of this law may be the one that breaks the camel’s back by completely overloading our legal system from law enforcement officers to the prosecutors/defenders through the judiciary and correctional institutions.

  • KS

    March 12, 2024 at 11:57 pm

    Once a “camper” has finally completed the heĺlatious process, he/she must return to their life or what’s left of it. Perhaps with no place to live and no job. It would be like starting over, EXCEPT now they have a CONVICTION on their record. Hmmm, seems to me this law will only contribute to the problem, taking us further from a solution. By the way, you can check out this future law by looking at HB1365 and SB1530.

    • They could at least be honest

      March 13, 2024 at 4:54 am

      It would be more honest for them to just say, if you’re caught homeless in the streets you go straight to prison, which is the new de facto asylums, where you get 3 hots and a cot and medical care, you can thank us later. Instead they want LEO’s endlessly chasing people around like dogs but it doesn’t go anywhere or make anything better. The only place they can force people to stay is in prison. And prisons are a big industry in Florida and big lobby and campaign contributors to guv and G0P. I don’t believe Garrison or guv or anyone who voted for this cares. This is about putting lipstick on the dystopian pig they’ve turned Florida into.

  • KS

    March 12, 2024 at 11:58 pm

    He’s incapable of compassion and lacks executive cognate skills. There are communities that have created model programs using successful strategies. Desantis could educate himself on the and strive for betterment. St. Petersburg has such a program piloted by St.Vincent de Paul of Southern Pinellas.

  • W Rose

    March 18, 2024 at 5:34 pm

    With any luck this will be challenged in court as soon as it is signed and go nowhere like so many of his big ideas. I’d be amused by the thought of LEO running around trying to round up all the homeless here, but then I think how they can’t even deter the non-stop drag racing on the roads or the insane amount of petty and not so petty crimes committed every day by the non-homeless. We can barely find any sites for affordable housing – are we going to find real estate for open air prisons now?

  • tom palmer

    March 18, 2024 at 6:42 pm

    what just about everyone said. Madness and incompetence rules in Tallahaassee.

Comments are closed.


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