If you believe in the right to organize in peaceful protest like we do here at SLM, you understand that no movement is supposed to be defined by it’s bad apples.
And we know that nobody should be held accountable for someone else’s illegal actions. Well in Arizona, legislation has passed the senate and will go to the house that not only makes it legal to punish people for other peoples actions, but possibly legalizes the theft of your property just for being somewhere where a vigilante group damages an area.
Who is to say that some radical group that has nothing to do with the people protesting won’t show up and ruin it for everybody.
What’s next is essentially a thought crime. Part of the bill says that police can arrest you before you even organize a protest. If you even suggest that you are going to organize one, you can be jailed and your property can be seized, to an unknown end. Senator John Cavanagh of Arizona (Republican) had this to say “Wouldn’t you like to stop a riot before it starts?” These are dangerous times for activism. We reserve the right to organize for the climate change activism, and anything but not limited to science related subjects.
We are opposed to such legislation which criminalizes and panders to the gut fears of society’s least informed citizens. Which makes up a very loud minority. I think this bill becoming law is something that every side can agree is unacceptable. We must fight for our beliefs and for the truth at all costs. Because our future depends on it, and this is after all supposed to be the land of the free.
In these times of anti-intellectualism in the government it’s especially important that we defend our right to speak the truth. We must be able to make it clear that alternative facts will not cut it for us.
Unfortunately Arizona isn’t the only state to introduce this kind of silencing legal proposal. The UCLA has put together an interactive map in which you can learn about all the states that engage in this kind of undemocratic censorship.
You can find that map here
Source for article
After massive backlash regarding this bill it has been canceled.
Lawmaker JP Mesnard said his decision was a practical one to end an unnecessary distraction. “I did look at the bill, it’s actually a bill of relatively few words, but they insert the word riot there sort-of in the racketeering. You put it right below terrorism and people think ‘Oh my goodness, really, riot and terrorism is the same thing?'” Mesnard told AP. “Well, they’re not the same thing. I don’t think that’s what the bill is trying to get at.”
Governor Doug Ducey, who ordinarily doesn’t speak about legislation until it reaches his desk, said through a spokesman that he “had been assured the bill is dead,” and was “pleased” it wouldn’t advance, according the Arizona Republic
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Sonny Boreeli, (R – Lake Havasu) said the legislation was intended to go after people who turn peaceful protests into riots by causing property damage.
Despite the bills intentions it would have given rise to the possibility of massive censorship. Good riddance say we.
Please note that this update only concerns the Arizona bill SB 1142. The UCLA map linked above is still accurate.