Lawmaker Wants To Make Blocking Traffic & Endangering Public Safety A Felony [VIDEO]

Lawmaker Wants To Make Blocking Traffic & Endangering Public Safety A Felony [VIDEO]

Senator Doug Ericksen of Washington state is looking to create a bill that would allow authorities to charge rioting protesters with economic terrorism. This walks a very fine line between stopping criminal actions and violating the Constitution and if not worded correctly, could be subjectively used against anyone that protests against the government or Donald Trump. I agree, it should be a crime to destroy property or to block traffic in such a manner that it endangers others. But there are already laws on the books for that. So, I’m torn here. I think he is right when it comes to vandalism, intimidation and violence though. This is getting out of hand. I just fear this being a slippery slope to the loss of constitutional rights.

Ericksen also aims to go after those funding these thugs, which is a nice move. That is where the root of the problem lies. Groups who organize these protests would also be subject to this. Again… I would caution we step carefully here. This could have a very chilling effect on free speech. I want to stop the violence too… but I wonder exactly how this will be applied and how it could potentially be abused. This bill would have to be very narrowly worded and pass the constitutional precept of strict scrutiny. Otherwise, the label is too vague and too broad to stand constitutionally.

felony

From The Hill:

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A Republican state lawmaker who was an outspoken supporter of President-elect Donald Trump is proposing a bill that would allow authorities to charge protesters with committing “economic terrorism.”

“I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people’s lives and property, it goes too far,” Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen said in a statement. “Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account.

“We are not just going after the people who commit these acts of terrorism,” he added. “We are going after the people who fund them. Wealthy donors should not feel safe in disrupting middle-class jobs.”

The proposed bill would make protesting a class C felony should it cause any sort of “economic disruption” or “jeopardize human life and property.” Such a proposal would mean violators could face five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Any group who organizes a protest that is considered disruptive would also be charged with “economic terrorism.” The law would not apply to strikes or picketing.

The bill is primarily aimed at protests in the Pacific Northwest, often carried out by environmental activists that want to shut down commerce and transportation. But this could apply to anyone and the definition of ‘disruptive’ here seems to be fluid to say the least. Protesters in Olympia, Washington, recently camped out for more than a week on railway tracks to stop a shipment of sand used for fracking. Now, that would be disruptive and should be classified as a crime.

The proposal is unlikely to pass in a divided Legislature and drew rebukes from Democrats and a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who called it inflammatory and unnecessary. There are already laws on the books allowing police to remove demonstrators blocking streets or railways. In recent months, dozens of protesters have been arrested on misdemeanor trespassing charges for blocking freight and passenger trains in Bellingham and Vancouver, Washington.

I understand that people are fed up with rioters destroying stuff and hurting people over Trump being elected. But taking unconstitutional measures to quell it is the wrong way to go here.

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Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at NoisyRoom.net. She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - trevorloudon.com. She also does research at KeyWiki.org. You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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