Attack on free speech clears House committee | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Attack on free speech clears House committee

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 12:50 PM

click to enlarge Rep. Bob Ballinger - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Rep. Bob Ballinger

A bill that would criminalize protest cleared the House Judiciary Committee today on a voice vote. Senate Bill 550 would make "unlawful mass picketing" a Class A misdemeanor. The bill defines mass picketing broadly:
(1) Engages in mass picketing that:
(A) Obstructs access by the mass picketing to the pursuit of lawful work or employment; or
(B) Obstructs:
(i) The entrance to or egress from a place of employment; or
(ii) Free use of public roads, streets, highways, railways, airports, or other rights-of-way of travel or conveyance; or
(2) Engages in mass picketing at a private residence that:
(A) Obstructs the entrance to or exit from the private residence; or
(B) Includes a threat of violence or intimidation communicated near or contiguous to the private residence
It would merely be another tool for law enforcement, Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville) aw-shucks-ed. "The libertarian principle of nonaggression is that your rights stop where someone else's rights begin."

Rizelle Aaron, president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, told the committee that criminalizing protest could lead to violence. He recounted his experience at a protest that broke out on 12th Street in Little Rock in 2013 in the wake of a police shooting. Aaron, a former police officer, said his stepdaughter was among the police officers who assembled when the protest began. He said the first inclination by an assistant chief on the scene was to disperse the crowd, which gathered near a gas station. Aaron said he knew some of the protesters had concealed weapons and told the police that breaking up the crowd could lead to violence. Police ultimately stood down.

The bill is part of a national trend to clamp down on protesters.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (22)

Showing 1-22 of 22

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-22 of 22

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The PR Stunt Edition

    Little Rock’s Amazon PR stunt, the Tom Cotton to the CIA rumor, French Hill and Puerto Rico and UA-Little Rock's football future — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • Oct 20, 2017
  • The First Amendment, Yo Edition

    The latest in the legal fight to stop a law that would prevent Planned Parenthood from performing abortions in Arkansas, the cancellation of a rap show in Little Rock and its First Amendment implications, a stunning investigative report on drug court defendants being forced to work for free for Arkansas poultry companies and bellicose Tom Cotton — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • Oct 13, 2017
  • Come with the Arkansas Times to the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival

    After several years of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro hosting benefit concerts to raise money for the restoration of Johnny Cash's boyhood home, this year the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival debuts in Dyess just outside the Cash homeplace. And of course the Arkansas Times is chartering a bus to be there. The lineup is spectacular: Kris Kristofferson (one of the greatest songwriters of all-time easily), Rosanne Cash, Joanne Cash and Tommy Cash and Buddy Jewel.
    • Oct 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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