Anti-Protest Bill Threatens Free Speech
TAKE ACTION NOW
Indiana legislators are launching a full-on attack on Hoosiers' right to protest in what is clearly backlash against the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred across the state last summer.
SB 198 would chill Hoosiers' free speech under the guise of an "anti-riot" bill and remove power from communities on multiple fronts:
- The bill would enhance criminal penalties for rioting, obstruction of traffic, and curfew violations.
- It would discourage release on bail in some instances for charges during what the law defines broadly as an "unlawful assembly."
- Lastly, SB 198 would grant the Indiana Attorney General authority to prosecute cases of individuals accused of committing a criminal offense during an unlawful assembly, in a clear attempt to take power and oversight of local law enforcement away from the very communities they are meant to serve. There are already laws on the books that address offenses associated with rioting in Indiana, and with these additional penalties, Indiana runs the risk of chilling First Amendment speech and criminalizing legitimate protest activity.
The right to protest is critical to a functioning democracy, as it allows the people to hold government accountable. These are overactions and will inevitably be used against marginalized communities.
We must fight back. Send a message to your representative below, to oppose this measure.
Your State House Representative