Protesting is a fundamental expression of democracy. But our right to freedom of expression is under attack by a few politicians in the Ohio General Assembly.
We are continuing to fight attacks on our rights, including multiple bills in the most recent legislative session -- House Bill 109 and Senate Bill 185.
House Bill 109 proposed five key things here in Ohio:
- Makes it a first degree misdemeanor for protestors who block roads, sidewalks, or other public and/or private property
- Makes it a second degree felony for individuals who organize or provide other active support for protests
- Organizations who provide active support or resources to a demonstration or protest connected with loss of property or harm to a police officer will be liable for triple the damages caused
- Creates a new offense of “riot assault” which makes it between a third to fifth degree felony to engage in a “riot” and recklessly cause physical harm to another person
- Creates new offense of “riot vandalism” which makes it between a third to fifth degree felony to engage in a “riot” and recklessly cause physical harm to various kinds of property
Senate Bill 185 proposed the removal of protections for protestors, and allowing vigilantism to run rampant:
- Makes deadly weapons or firearms businesses and services as "essential" during an emergency
- Prohibits law enforcement from stopping citizens with firearms from entering cordoned off areas during a "mob or riot" or "suspected mob or riot"
- Allows citizens to sue if police infringe on their rights to firearms during civil unrest, when families can't sue police when their loved one is murdered by an officer
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