Anti-protest provisions have been slipped into 2 House Omnibus bills, (Public Safety Omnibus and the Transportation Omnibus), making them hard for the Governor to veto.
The Public Safety Omnibus contains a provision that greatly increases the penalties for protesting on highways and access roads to the airport. Another greatly increases the penalty for blocking transit. These provisions are aimed at the BLM type protests that followed the killing of Philando Castile as well as the announcement of the Yanez acquittal.
The Health and Human Services and Transportation Omnibus contains a provision (aka “guilty by association) that increases the penalties for protesting on/near pipelines or being associated with this type of protest. This provision is aimed at the protests of the Water Protectors and environmental groups over the pipelines.
These provisions are about chilling dissent and shutting down legitimate protests. Dissent and protest are a part of democracy. Tell Gov. Dayton must say NO to these provisions. He refused to agree to some of them last year but has indicated that he may be willing to agree to the anti-protest provisions in the Public Safety Omnibus.
Governor Dayton’s office no. is: 651 201 3400. Call him now. They tally every call as well as every issue you raise.
There is also a standalone anti-protest bill (HF390/SF676) that increases punishment for obstructing a right-of-way to highway/airport or transit to a gross misdemeanor, with fines up to $3000 and 1 year in jail. HF390 just passed in the House and the Senate version is waiting for a vote. Contact your Mn Senator about this bill and tell them why protecting people's right to protest is important, that these penalties are extreme and criminalize people who are drawing attention to important issues.
What Rep. Ilhan Omar says on provisions to stop protestors going on the highways.
A good article on these provisions.
For more info on “guilty by association” see our earlier Call to Action on it (but focus your calls about it to Gov. Dayton).
Some possible language to use: The anti-protest language in these bills is an affront to first amendment rights and increases the likelihood that protesters will face harsh collateral consequences. Marginalized communities will be disproportionately targeted. The "obstruction of transit" section in the Public Safety omnibus bill, and the "guilty by association" language in the Transportation omnibus bill, leave a dangerous amount of room for interpretation. The proposed penalties do not fit the crime. And the right to dissent protects democracy. I urge the Governor to veto this omnibus bill in its current form and make sure it is removed in conference committees next week before it is signed.