Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Speech Watch Beware Legislation That Chips Away at Free Speech

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Speech Watch Beware Legislation That Chips Away at Free Speech

Article excerpt

State legislators from Washington to Florida have proposed bills to crack down on protesters. That's troubling, not only because of what some bills would do, but because of the cultural trend they reflect.

Two bills would protect drivers who hit protesters. They may not be intended to protect intentionally driving into people, but one is widely read as proposing just that, according to Spencer DesAutels, a Tennessean who was hit by a car while protecting demonstrators from traffic.

Other bills would charge demonstrators for policing costs and hold peaceful protesters responsible if other demonstrators became violent.

Some of the bills have already died in committee; others may yet be killed. Not all the bills are egregious on their face. One raises the fine for blocking traffic and impeding emergency vehicles to $200 and makes it a misdemeanor. …

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