Lawmakers Clash Over New Attempt to Increase Penalties For Protests That Block Traffic

Lawmakers Clash Over New Attempt to Increase Penalties For Protests That Block Traffic Photo: KSTP

March 15, 2018 03:10 PM

Lawmakers are clashing over a renewed attempt to increase penalties for protesting that blocks traffic, transit lines or at airports.

The Republican-led House Public Safety committee passed the bill on party lines Thursday over strong opposition from Democrats. The legislation started last year as a response to months of Black Lives Matter protests officer-involved shootings that snarled interstate traffic and blocked the airport.

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The measure was eventually traded away in budget negotiations last spring but was introduced again this year. GOP Rep. Nick Zerwas says increasing the penalties for those protests from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor would improve public safety.

Democrats called it an attempt to stifle citizens' right to protest.

The bill will now head for a full House floor vote.

Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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