NO to "Guilty by Association" (HF3693/SF3463)

Say NO to this unnecessary legislation designed to stifle important voices fighting to protect our climate, water and land.

“Guilty by Association”  (HF3693/SF3463) turns a misdemeanor offense into a felony crime for trespassing on “critical infrastructure” (pipelines) for both the trespasser and those recruiting or educating individuals who do the same.

This bill is an effort to chill lawful speech and association, especially by Indigenous people fighting for their rights to clean water, ground and rice.  The bill is designed to restrict our First Amendment rights to free speech and free assembly.  The threat of jail time or monetary liability for anyone even remotely associated with a protest (who didn't attend the protest) at which damage or trespass to infrastructure occurs will dramatically discourage citizens and organizations to use their rights of free speech and free assembly guaranteed to all under the Constitution.

This bill would disproportionately chill the speech of Indigenous and Native communities in Minnesota and their allies.  This bill is an ALEC bill brought by the GOP to the Minnesota Legislature from interests outside Minnesota.  It is the oil industry’s response to the action taken by Water Protectors in the Dakota Access Pipeline dispute. 

It is also unnecessary. There are already statutes in Minnesota which make certain trespasses to infrastructure a crime, as well as longstanding criminal prohibitions against criminal conspiracy and aiding and abetting a crime.  (609 Minn. Stat. § 6055 (2017); Conspiracy, 609 Minn. Stat. § 175 (2017); Liability for Crimes of Another, 609 Minn. Stat. § 05 (2017)). 

Importantly, to be liable for a crime in general, one must have the intent to commit the damage.  Imposing criminal liability on organizations who might have educated folks on the issue or encouraged people to take lawful action by speaking out or assembling vastly expands criminal liability beyond any reasonable bounds.  We do not criminalize association in this country, except under specific circumstances where an individual engaged in a conspiracy with the offender or provided material support to the offender to commit the crime. 

This bill is opposed by numerous environmental and civil rights organizations across Minnesota.

Call your Legislators and Governor Dayton and tell them to vote no on the Guilty by Association bill.   Minnesota has no need for unnecessary legislation designed to stifle important protest to protect our climate, water and land.

For more information to:

The bill – authors, text, companion bill - 

An easy way to contact your legislators on this bill

Good article on the issue Park Rapids Enterprise