Saturday Night Owls: States have spent the past five years trying to criminalize protest

Saturday Night Owls: States have spent the past five years trying to criminalize protest

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week

Naveena Sadasivam at Grist writes—US states have spent the past 5 years trying to criminalize protest:

Over the past half-decade, a wave of bills that criminalize civil disobedience has swept state legislatures across the country — particularly those controlled by Republican lawmakers. According to a new report by PEN America, a nonprofit advocating for First Amendment rights, 116 such bills were proposed in state legislatures between 2015 and 2020. Of those, 23 bills in 15 states became law. While there is no comprehensive count of the number of people arrested and prosecuted under these new laws, activists protesting oil and gas activity have been charged with felonies in Houston and Louisiana.

[…] This year alone, four states — Kentucky, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Utah — passed laws that increased penalties and charges for either interfering with oil and gas activity or disturbing meetings of government officials. (Interfering with oil and gas activity may include obstructing the construction or operation of pipelines and other “critical infrastructure.”) As of May, 12 other bills are pending in various state legislatures — all of them introduced before the past week’s unrest. If passed, these bills would increase disciplinary sanctions for campus protesters, classify trespassing on property with oil and gas infrastructure a felony, and expand the definition of rioting, among other things.

More bills increasing penalties for protesters may be on their way. In response to the recent protests against George Floyd’s killing, a Tennessee lawmaker has proposed increasing penalties for rioting and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has said that her administration is looking into legislative proposals to respond to the recent unrest.

“Protest, in the last several years, has absolutely been followed by efforts by state legislators to criminalize the very activity practiced in the mere months prior,” said Nora Benevidez, director of the U.S. Free Expression Programs at PEN America. “There is this larger narrative that is being cast that protest needs to be narrowed — and the definitions around what constitutes acceptable protests are becoming smaller and smaller.” […]

TOP COMMENTSHIGH IMPACT STORIES 

QUOTATION

“There is a way that the men speak to women that reminds me too much of Pa. They listen just long enough to issue instructions. They don’t even look at women when women are speaking. They look at the ground and bend their heads toward the ground.”
          ~~Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1992)

TWEET OF THE DAY

If all the companies saying �Black Lives Matter� would stop making it impossible for their workers to unionize it would cause a transfer of wealth to black and brown working people a thousand times greater than any charity donation and that is exactly why they won�t do it

— Hamilton Nolan (@hamiltonnolan) June 6, 2020

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—Teabagging GM:

No one likes the idea of General Motors’ collapse. GM executives don’t like it. Workers don’t like it. Dealers don’t like it. Stockholders don’t like it. Bondholders don’t like it. Taxpayers don’t like it. No one likes seeing so many who have worked for decades lose so much of their pensions and health care. No one wants to see a century old mainstay of the economy tottering on the brink.

But for the far right, there’s a far bigger principle at work: government intervention is stinky. Once the government has invested in something, it’s tainted by the unholy whiff of impure capitalism—a smell that the farthest of the far right place just below catfish cheese bait. Worse, the government’s largest partner in ownership of the new GM will be the United Autoworkers Union. In Wingnutia, that’s like pairing cheese bait with roadkill possum (which every conservative knows is only proper in months containing the letter ‘R’).

So now that we are all investors in the comeback of GM, with billions riding on the company’s resurrection, conservatives have developed a brilliant plan: We will boycott ourselves!

Monday through Friday you can catch the Kagro in the Morning Show 9 AM ET by dropping in here, or you can download the Stitcher app (found in the app stores or at Stitcher.com), and find a live stream there, by searching for “Netroots Radio.”

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