PA Bill to Make Protest a Crime
Please keep calling your Representative and the leadership in the House. Tell them to vote NO on SB652.
These are the House leaders that need to hear “NO on SB652”:
Mike Turzai, Speaker (717) 772-9943
Dave Reed, Majority Leader (717) 705-7173
Frank Dermody, Minority Leader (717) 787-3566
Michael K. Hanna, Democratic Whip (717) 772-2283
Bryan Cutler, Republican Whip (717) 783-6424
SB652 or the “Criminal Trespass Act” proposes to amend Pennsylvania’s statutes to make trespass on “critical infrastructure” more serious than trespass on regular property. Disguised as a bill to protect facilities, it actually infringes on the First Amendment rights of protesters, attempting to chill legitimate protest. The bill enhances the penalties for trespass, making some offenses 1st and 2nd Degree felonies with imprisonment and stiff fines.
The bill’s list of critical infrastructure is broad, including gas pipelines (including gas liquids); compressors; telecommunication facilities; railroad freight yards; refineries; gas processing plants; radio and TV stations; power plants; certain manufacturing facilities, steel plants, and dams; water and sewage treatment plants; schools; hazardous liquid, gas and oil storage facilities; Homeland Security-designated locations; and even metering stations and equipment that is being used to construct “critical infrastructure”. Our right to protest is under attack, we can’t let this happen!
Please tell them: We have a right to protest, our nation is built on the public speaking up and being engaged. Laws are already in place to address trespass, this bill is unnecessary and nothing more than an attempt to intimidate. For the sake of free speech and public discourse, VOTE NO on SB652.
This bill and those like it are being pushed across the nation to try to stop the protests occurring in so many places against dirty energy pipelines and other polluting projects.
A good source for tracking these anti-protest bills nationally is a civil liberties website: http://www.icnl.org/usprotestlawtracker/