In Arizona, it just became a lot more dangerous to carry out a protest that blocks traffic.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a piece of legislation that makes longer jail sentences possible for blocking traffic during protests — here’s looking at you, Trump protesters.
The law will take effect on Aug. 6 and exponentially increases the maximum penalty from 30 days and $500 to six months and a $2,500 fine.
The legislation also prevents public colleges and universities from restricting “noncommercial expressive activity,” according to Your West Valley. That actually was the original plan for the bill, HB 2548. The piece is long overdue — the limitation of free speech at a public institution is not only immoral, but pretty clearly unconstitutional.
Before the bill was finished, it was decided that legislators would add the authority for stiffer sentences for those who block traffic en route to political rallies and government meetings — readers may remember how likely Republican nominee Donald Trump was blocked from entering a rally in Arizona back in march due to a mass of protesters.
“These bills protect free speech throughout our college campuses and also ensure an individual’s right to engage in free speech isn’t shut down by someone else who disagrees with his or her perspective,” Ducey said.
Ducey press aide Daniel Scarpinato expressed hope that the new penalties would cause people to think twice before attempting to prevent someone else from exercising their right to free speech.
“That hopefully will create deterrent for people intruding on others’ abilities,” he said. “There’s a balance here of everyone getting their voice heard. And if someone is physically preventing someone from participating in exercising their constitutional rights, that is unacceptable.”
State Sen. John Kavanagh, the man who sponsored the bill, agreed:
“To stop somebody from going to a political rally to hear a candidate is not furthering the First Amendment. It is suppressing that person’s First Amendment right to assembly.”
H/T BizPac Review
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