Tags: Charlottesville | Anti Protest Bills | States

Report: GOP Legislators in 20 States Propose Restrictions on Protests

Image: Report: GOP Legislators in 20 States Propose Restrictions on Protests
Participants of  'Charlottesville to D.C: The March to Confront White Supremacy' amid their 10-day trek. (Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:01 PM

Republican lawmakers in 20 states have proposed bills that would put limits on the right to assemble and protest, according to a report by the State Innovation Exchange, a Democratic-aligned group.

"These bills would create a new set of crimes, significantly harsher penalties, and costly fines that could apply broadly to anyone—whether they are supporters of the president, members of the Tea Party, or just concerned parents speaking out at a school board meeting," read an advance copy of the State Innovation Exchange report.

"Given this passage rate, there is every reason to think we will see more of these efforts in 2018," the report said.

Five of those states — Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Georgia, and South Dakota — already have approved "anti-protester" legislation, according to the Exchange report.

Examples in the report include an "anti-loitering" bill in Arkansas that sets an offense for an individual who "lingers, remains or prowls in a public place or the premises of another without apparent reason or under circumstances that warrant alarm or concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity."

Rep. Nick Zerwas, who sponsored a Minnesota bill that did not pass, said he wanted to increase penalties on actions that were already offenses that would result in fines.

"It was very narrow in scope and aimed to increase criminal penalties for a few specific violations. What we’ve seen is a pattern of behavior in which individuals are closing down airports or blocking freeways in violation of existing law," Zerwas told USA Today.

The State Innovation Exchange faces an uphill battle in combating the bills, according to USA Today, which notes that only 16 states have Democratic governors. Republicans control both the governorship and both legislator chambers in 25 states, while Democrats only control all the chambers in five states.

The American Civil Liberties Union has put together a list of states that have anti-protest bills, which is current as of June 23.

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Republican lawmakers in 20 states have proposed bills that would put limits on the right to assemble and protest, according to a report by the State Innovation Exchange, a Democratic-aligned group. "These bills would create a new set of crimes, significantly harsher...
Anti Protest Bills, States
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2017-01-29
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:01 PM
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