If there’s one thing Republicans hate, it’s protests.
Unless, of course, they’re run by Republicans, as in the case of that infamous “Brooks Brothers Riot” that disrupted the Florida recount in the 2000 Bush/Gore race a protest organized by Trump lawyer/adviser Roger Stone and using paid protesters.
Because of the Dakota Access Pipeline occupation and the massive anti-Trump protests of recent months, Republican-controlled state legislatures are bust enacting all manner of laws criminalizing protests, even to the point of classifying them as organized crime.
TeleSUR English reports on the of the worst pieces of legislation:
Arizona lawmakers have approved a bill that could make people who organize or take part in protests that turn violent subject to the same criminal charges used to fight organized crime. The bill also seeks to seize protesters’ assets.
Republicans, who pushed for the bill, say it will help curb the kind of protests that have erupted nationwide over the past few years by penalizing those they term “paid” and “professional” demonstrators, a notion they share with President Trump.
Opponents of the Arizona bill say it is unconstitutional and will serve to harm Arizona’s reputation nationally.
“This bill only serves to chill people’s rights to free speech by allowing one bad actor to turn peaceful demonstration organizers into racketeering felons,” state Senator Martin Quezada, Senate Democratic Whip, said last week.
Republican lawmakers in the state of Indiana introduced a bill in January that initially required police to clear, by “any means necessary,” protesters from blocked roads and highways within 15 minutes.
The bill was changed last week, removing the phrase by “any means necessary” and instead granting police the power to fine protesters for blocking the roads. The Republican lawmaker behind the bill said it was designed to “limit traffic obstructions.”
Republicans in Minnesota have introduced two separate anti-protest bills. One seeks to grant cities the power to sue protesters in order to charge them for the cost of policing demonstrations. The second bill could see protesters fined for blocking streets and highways.
4. South Dakota
As they anticipate renewed protests over both the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines, Republican lawmakers are introducing a bill that would expand the governor’s emergency response authority to “destructive” protests, create new trespassing penalties and make it a crime to obstruct highways.
If passed, the law would expire in 2020.
In order to counter peaceful protesters in the state, Republicans are introducing a bill that would protect drivers from liability if they hit protesters and injure them in streets and highways as long as the hit is not intentional.