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 Cotton, Boozman Nowhere to Be Found Edition

    Arkansas politicians and the health care overhaul and Russia investigation, the ascension of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the firing of Pulaski County Superintendent Jerry Guess, the end of Riverfest, UA-LR and football and maybe more — all covered on the podcast.
    • Jul 21, 2017
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
    • Jul 18, 2017
  • The Power Ultra Fallout Edition

    The Power Ultra Lounge shooting and related political fallout, Secretary of State Mark Martin and Trump’s election integrity commission and former circuit judge Mike Maggio — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • Jul 7, 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
  • 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
  • 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 Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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