NDofPD Plus 34

34 days since the National Day of Patriotic Devotion

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

“Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad – even before anything actually happened. SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others … By including rioting in racketeering laws, it actually permits police to arrest those who are planning events … The 17-13 party-line vote sends the bill to the House.” The Arizona Capitol Times, 22 February 2017

“Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced the North Dakota bill, which states that if a driver “unintentionally” causes injury or death to someone blocking traffic on a roadway, then the driver will not be liable for damages … In recent weeks legislatures in Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa have moved to add laws specifically targeting roadway blocking … in Minnesota … a Republican-led House committee passed a measure … that would allow local governments to sue criminally convicted protesters for law enforcement costs. … In Indiana, a lawmaker proposed a bill that would require officials to direct police to clear protesters from roadways by “any means necessary,” according to the Indianapolis Star. ” KTLA5, 26 January 2017

“House and Senate committees advanced bill that would make blocking highway traffic, airport access or public transit a gross misdemeanor, which requires jail time. Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, who’s sponsoring the House bill, said some people wrongly believe that they have a right to shut down freeways. “If you block a freeway, you should go to jail,” he said.” Minnesota Public Radio, 22 February 2017

“Senate Bill 285, authored by Sen. James Tomes (R-Wadesville), would have required law enforcement to be dispatched within 15 minutes of a report of 10 or more protesters unlawfully blocking traffic. Those police would be required to “use any means necessary” to move those protesters out of the road. But lawmakers expressed serious concerns and amended the bill, striking “any means necessary” – virtually rewriting the bill. The new version creates an infraction for “mass traffic obstruction” and allows state police to help local law enforcement enforce it.” Indiana Public Media, 22 February 2017

“People who intentionally block traffic on Iowa highways could be charged with a felony punishable by up to five years in prison under an Iowa Senate bill co-sponsored by nine Republican lawmakers. Senate File 111 has been introduced in response to an incident in November when more than 100 protesters blocked Interstate Highway 80 in Iowa City, said Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, the bill’s lead sponsor … Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, plans to introduce his own version of the legislation in the House [which focuses] on those who organize protests intended to shut down highways.” The Des Moines Register, 23 January 2017


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