Senate passes bill against 'mass picketing' | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 13, 2017

Senate passes bill against 'mass picketing'

Posted By on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 7:20 PM

MASS PICKETING: The Arkanss Senate today passed a bill meant to discourage this sort of thing.
  • MASS PICKETING: The Arkanss Senate today passed a bill meant to discourage this sort of thing.

Sen. Trent Garner's
free speech-chilling bill to criminalize "mass picketing" passed the Senate today and goes to the House.

The ACLU properly viewed it as an attack on 1st Amendment rights. SB 550 would allow penalties of a year in jail for people who  "hinder or prevent" work by mass picketing, "interferes" with entrances or  exits or free use of roadways and other means of transportation.

It also is a crime to mass picket a residence, one qualification being that the demonstration includes "intimidation near or contiguous to the private residence." And we'd leave to local constabulary and people like Trent Garner wha would constitute intimidation? The mere presence of protesters seems to make Trumpians nervous. The vote was 22-6.

The need for this in Arkansas was demonstrated by ??????

This is but one of the anti-first Amendment bill from Republicans this session. Kim Hammer has an even broader one that would prohibit people saying stuff that he found offensive. Republicans nationally are pressing many bills (18 by this Washington Post count) to discourage protest demonstrations and otherwise squelch free speech. They are at the same time pushing a lot of gun bills in the name of the 2nd Amendment. Not that THAT is intended to intimidate anyone. And pushing to limit 1st Amendment press rights by closing public records and access to some video records of crimes.

Garner's bill mirrors language the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has pushed in other states for years. The U.S. Chamber hates unions and they pushed a bill in Nevada to quell demonstrations by powerful unionized hotel and casino workers there.

The bills are reminiscent of efforts in Southern states to quell demonstrations during the civil rights struggle. (Proud, Sen. Garner?) From the Post article:

Critics doubt whether many of the laws would pass Constitutional muster. “The Supreme Court has gone out of its way on multiple occasions to point out that streets, sidewalks and public parks are places where [First Amendment] protections are at their most robust,” said Lee Rowland, a senior attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

... The ACLU’s Rowland says the new bills are not about “creating new rules that are necessary because of some gap in the law.” She points out, for instance, that “every single city and county in the United States” already has laws on the books against obstructing traffic on busy roads.

Rather, Rowland says the laws’ intent is “increasing the penalties for protest-related activity to the point that it results in self-censorship among protesters who have every intention to obey the law.”
...
Not that a little ol' losing lawsuit ever stopped a bad bill in Arkansas.


Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Woo. An open line

    The open line. Hogs, Trump, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Driver killed in crash with Maumelle officer

    Maumelle police report the death early this morning of a motorist who crashed head-on with a Maumelle police officer. The officer and two passengers in the other vehicle were injured.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Two plead in fraud of sheriff's office

    A former employee of the Pulaski County sheriff and a North Little Rock woman who sold goods to the sheriff's office have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to steal from the sheriff's office, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation