Republican Lawmakers in Five States Propose Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest

Spencer Woodman reports for The Intercept:

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, file photo, protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline stand on a burned-out truck near Cannon Ball, N.D., that they removed from a long-closed bridge a day earlier on a state highway near their camp in southern North Dakota. President-elect Donald Trump holds stock in the company building the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, and pipeline opponents warn that Trump’s investments could undercut any decision he makes on the $3.8 billion project as president. (AP Photo/James MacPherson, File)On Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington will kick off what opponents of the incoming administration hope will be a new era of demonstrations against the Republican agenda. But in some states, nonviolent demonstrating may soon carry increased legal risks — including punishing fines and significant prison terms — for people who participate in protests involving civil disobedience. Over the past few weeks, Republican legislators across the country have quietly introduced a number of proposals to criminalize and discourage peaceful protest.

The proposals, which strengthen or supplement existing laws addressing the blocking or obstructing of traffic, come in response to a string of high-profile highway closures and other actions led by Black Lives Matter activists and opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Republicans reasonably expect an invigorated protest movement during the Trump years.

In North Dakota, for instance, Republicans introduced a bill last week that would allow motorists to run over and kill any protester obstructing a highway as long as a driver does so accidentally. In Minnesota, a bill introduced by Republicans last week seeks to dramatically stiffen fines for freeway protests and would allow prosecutors to seek a full year of jail time for protesters blocking a highway. Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests that are deemed “economic terrorism.” Republicans in Michigan introduced and then last month shelved an anti-picketing law that would increase penalties against protestors and would make it easier for businesses to sue individual protestors for their actions. And in Iowa a Republican lawmaker has pledged to introduce legislation to crack down on highway protests.

READ MORE…

Advertisements

One response

  1. I found the woman march on Washington an act of bravery. I was astonished that so many brought children from all ages with them. I feared for their safety. I guess the police and politicians thought beating, teargas, water canons against woman and children is a bridge too far for them. Now I read that they are writing legislation quietly trying to pass demonstrating. They should be impeached.
    Honey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: