In the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers in 34 states have introduced more than 80 anti-protest bills. The proposals include civil immunity for people who drive their cars into crowds of protesters, to expanding the definition of a riot. What does this push reflect about the state of our democracy?
Elly Page, senior legal advisor at the International Center for Not-for-profit Law, which has tracked U.S. protest laws. (@epagination)
Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin, Republican representative for Florida’s 119th House district. (@RepJuanFBarquin)
Susan Stokes, professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Director of the Chicago Center on Democracy.
Noor Adwan, sophomore at the University of Minnesota.
From The Reading List
New York Times: "G.O.P. Anti-Protester Bills Include Immunity for Hitting Them With Cars" — "Republican legislators in Oklahoma and Iowa have passed bills granting immunity to drivers whose vehicles strike and injure protesters in public streets."
Washington Post: "Opinion: "States should be listening to protesters. Instead they’re shutting them up." — "The mass unrest that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd should have moved legislators everywhere to listen and to learn. Yet in too many cases, the opposite has occurred: State lawmakers have released a torrent of anti-protest bills during the 2021 session, seeking not to engage with speech that challenges the status quo but rather to shut it down."
USA Today: "As protests continue over police killings, lawmakers try to add to the list of crimes protesters could face" — "After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decided he'd seen enough of agitators, as he called them, who were 'bent on sowing disorder and causing mayhem.'"
The Guardian: "Republicans push ‘tsunami’ of harsh anti-protest laws after BLM rallies" — "After a year where Black Lives Matter demonstrations saw Americans begin to re-address and rethink racial inequality in the nation, a pushback from predominantly Republican lawmakers is on the horizon, with 29 states in the US moving to introduce draconian anti-protest laws."
This program aired on April 27, 2021.