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Sun May 12, 2019, 01:44 AM

Indiana Joins South Dakota in Criminalizing Protest; What If We Deem Women's Clinics "Critical

Indiana Joins South Dakota in Criminalizing Protest; What If We Deem Women’s Clinics “Critical Infrastructure”?

South Dakota isn’t the only place where pipeliners are pushing protest aside with broad and disproportionate penalties. Indiana just passed a bill purporting to protect “critical infrastructure facilities,” including pipelines, refineries, crude oil exploration and production equipment, power plants, dams, communication towers, and paper and drug factories. Yet like the Noem/TransCanada anti-protest bill, this rushed Indiana legislation appears designed to chill free speech by criminalizing peaceful protest:

New language would make organizations or individuals liable and responsible — and subject to harsh fines and potential lawsuits — if someone at a protest they organize or even just participate in commits one of the above crimes. The fine for “conspirators,” as termed in the bill: $100,000.

[Bill sponsor Rep. Ed] Soliday said there needs to be some sort of evidence that the organization encouraged the behavior, adding that “If I misbehave and there is no evidence they’ve encouraged misbehavior, that’s not a reason to find they are guilty.”

But the question for organizations such as CAC, the Sierra Club and others is what counts as encouragement?

“Is it an organization that supports the same goals as the protester? A group that posts a Facebook event for a protest? The law doesn’t say,” he [unclear attribution: maybe Kerwin Olson of Citizens Action Coalition?] said. “It creates an open door to arrest anybody for anything, which is exactly what you want if you’re Goliath trying to crush David’s dissent” [Sarah Bowman, “This Indiana Bill Is Meant to Protect Pipelines. Critics Say It Infringes on Free Speech,” Indy Star, 2019.03.10].

Read more: http://dakotafreepress.com/2019/05/10/indiana-joins-south-dakota-in-criminalizing-protest-what-if-we-deem-womens-clinics-critical-infrastructure/

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